Monday, September 12, 2016
Reading Against the Future
I am reading a book that disappoints me. I liked the author's first book very much, but one novel does not a writer make, etc. I think I just wanted him to write the same book over using a different scenario maybe, in which case it is the reader's fault and not the writer's. It is probably a decent book. I have spent two nights with it sipping mugs of hot tea, and there is a bit of comfort in that. I really just want to read obsessively again, want to spend hours with words and phrases, characters and tones and atmospheres. It is a dangerous retreat from a dangerous future. I can't face the coming election and what will happen after. The novel I am reading is set in Russia after the revolution when Bolsheviks came to power. An aristocrat is sentenced to life in his hotel, the Metropol. He watches as the old world gives rise to the new Soviet State. He is befriended by a little girl whose father is part of the new regime. The old and the new. In the first part of the book, the author lets us descry the fall of the aristocracy, their beautiful manners and elegant life. I have been sucked into it, too, though I think that this will change as the novel progresses. We will begin to see things through the growing girl's eyes and the protagonist will as well. My guess, anyway. Towles may have other ideas, though, and that is a reason to keep reading. I don't want to interrogate the text as I read, of course, but want to be swept along by the authorial magic. And I am until I rest and think a bit. Then my overactive brain begins cranking. I enjoy both things, but I am enjoying being swept away just now a bit more.
The roofer comes in minutes to give me an estimate. I must begin digging to see if I can discover some money.