I am currently working through two books, or three if the one with Natalya in the evenings counts (which I suppose it does).
Natalya and I are reading Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night. This book is one of my favorites of all time. I read it a couple years ago and I have been waiting for the short one to get old enough to enjoy it. Why do I like it? I shall count all its ways at some point. I can start with a few appreciative remarks on which I was dwelling aloud last night, and, okay, one from a couple nights ago.*
Hardinge’s treatment of setting:
The path was a troublesome, fretful thing. It worried that it was missing a view of the opposite hills and insisted on climbing for a better look. then it found the breeze uncommonly chill and ducked back among the trees. It suddenly thought it had forgotten something and doubled back, then realized that it hadn’t and turned about again. At last it struggled free of the pines, plumped itself down by the riverside, complained of its aching stones and refused to go any farther. a sensible, well-trodden track took over. (34)
Anything can become animate at will.
Her descriptions of people. One from last night’s reading:
Mosca and Clent were led to an unsmiling little man of fifty with a gnawed, yellow look like an apple core. The little man’s mouth was a small, bitter V shape, and seemed designed to say small, bitter things. His wig frightened Mosca: it was so lustrous and long, so glossy and brow, one could think it had sucked the life out of the little man whom it seemed to wear. (133).
Yes, this is usual to all her introductions of characters, especially characters of interest.
And her diction. The vocabulary is incredible, and, of course, the vocabulary is important to the book. I will randomly pick two pages we’ve read thus far.
page 78, where Mosca and Clent argue; words:
wincing, exotic, cant, moldering, treacherous, hoard, keyhole-stooping, depravity, aspersions, overzealously, absurd, ethically pusillanimous compromise.
page 128, Mosca and Clent at the marriage house, directly following their agreement; words:
ballad, cuttthroat, ewer, diligence, explode, gripped by fits of poetic rage, unsuited, lithe, writhe, repetition, smooth his hair as if combing his thoughts, scanning a scribbled paper like a mother looking for signs of sickness in a newborn baby.
And there are the numerous moments of alliteration that make a tired or hurried tongue twist. Frances Hardinge crafts lovely sentences.
*First Harper Trophy edition, 2008 (paperback).
Back to the other two books. Both authors’ last names, my husband noted the other evening as I set them aside into my I-am-reading-these-presently stack, begin with Z and end in K. Their names even have the same number of letters, and vowels and consonants in the same positions. One is known as a philosopher and the other philosophizes.
Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
Once I read more of Zizek, I may form more coincidences. At present, I have perused Zizek’s text, and dipped into it a bit. I am just past half-way with Zusak’s book.
Really, I could have finished reading Zusak if not for drifting in illness induced coughs and whining. And then there is the part that the writing requires pause. When I do finish it, I will write more–though most everything has been said, as this book has gotten a lot of attention.
With Looking Awry, I have a note pad and pencil: not something I do with all my reading (unless I know I have to write an essay for it and will only be able to read it once before a professor’s deadline). I have been exposed to more Lacan than Zizek, but what I have read of Zizek I have enjoyed; and then there was that YouTube video I watched…should hunt that up.