We’ve lost track of all the books we read over the hols, but here are a few: The Drop, which is the new Michael Connelly, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child, Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn, and 2011 Man Booker winner The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes. We haven’t event cracked the spine on Status Anxiety, The Only Book Anyone Gave Us This Christmas even though the whole point of the holiday is to give books, don’t you agree?
The Drop is Connelly in top form. Not to be missed. The Hollinghurst is something like an abbreviated A.S. Byatt, mostly notable for the case it makes that all biographies are so flawed that they might as well not be read, a conclusion we reached decades ago which is why readers will never see bios in this blog. Utter bunk. The Dunn goes on much too long, but there is enough authenticity about it and enough scary Balkan stuff that one’s time is not totally wasted.
Liesl Schillinger couldn’t say enough about the Barnes in the NYT, and there is that Booker, so we expected the very best, and we read it in the prescribed single sitting after lunch and after hanging up the alarmingly bodybaglike, re-useable, already-lit, Xmas tree and storing the ornament boxes on the most unreachable garage shelves yesterday, but here’s the thing: we felt, as they used to say in the eighties, violated, when it was all done. And we told Mrs. Wolfe that we weren’t at all sure that the Barnes wasn’t, as Joseph Kerman said of Tosca, “a shabby little shocker.”