Thursday, January 3, 2008

More Modern Library Reviews

I think I said in a previous post that prior to doing this blog thing, I kept track of reviews in a notebook. Here are some more off the Modern Library list:

#52 - Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
Funny - yes, very funny. Lewd - very lewd. A portrait of a Jewish kid trying to become a Jewish man, but unable to overcome his domineering mother and pathetic, constipated father. It's Fear of Flying for men. Enjoyable but not a favorite.

#75 - Scoop - Evelyn Waugh
I'd been scared of Waugh for a long time. Maybe not scared, but I didn't particularly expect to like him. I didn't think that he was a male iether. But this story of mistaken identities - the rural, backwards nature writer is sent to cover a war in Africa instead of the cosmopolitan journalist (they have the same name). Hilarity ensues. I hope that the remaining Waugh books on this list are equally good.

#56 - The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammet
It was like the movie, or more accurately, the movie was like the book, except that Sam Spade is blonde. I liked it, but the movie is so iconic, I couldn't stop thinking of it, so at times it was like reading the movie script.

#98 - The Postman Always Rings Twice - James Cain
I read this and Double Indemnity back to back, and now I can't remember which one was which. But each involves a jaded morally ambivalent male, a femme fatale, and killing someone...I think in both it was a husband. Typical noir book, which I liked, even if I'm getting it confused with other novels like it.

#83 - A Bend in the River - V.S. Naipaul
It's about an Indian merchant in Africa. Couldn't stand it.

#11 - Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
Another one that I thought I would like but didn't really. Though it seems to be one that I like more and understand more the farther away from it I get. The consumption by alcohol: he is always thinking and considering it - where the bottle is, etc. That's something I can identify with, and that's really disturbing. This is one that I may revisit in a few years and find that I like it more the second time around.

#73 - Day of the Locust - Nathaniel West
A short read that I never got into. In general, I love the idea of L.A. stories, because there is so much to write about it, particularly in the time period West set Day of the Locust (I'm thinking Black Dahlia but not necessarily murder, intregue, etc.) So I was excited to read this book, but it was really disappointing.

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