Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lee Burke, Kureishi and Chabon

I was lucky enough, in some respects, to catch a really bad cold, because it gave me some time for reading! I found Two for Texas by James Lee Burke in the book case and really enjoyed it. Two convicts, the American frontier wars and impeccable style is here for the taking. Sidle up to a sneezer and enjoy!

For some reason, I just can't warm to Hanif Kureishi's writing. I've tried (twice before) because his usual subject matter - East meets West in England - appeals to me. However, his style, which I find contrived, does not. I will now stop trying. For a while.

Michael Chabon's last novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, really impressed me. Therefore, my expectations may have been running high when I tried this one, Gentlemen of the Road. The story is simple, two adventurers fight wars and save ladies during the 10th century, but the language is not. It is quite difficult at times, but for no real purpose (if there ever was a good one). It is not clever, beautiful, evocative or thought-provoking. Just tough to get through. If you are interested in trying Chabon, any one of his other novels will beat this one. By a clear margin.