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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Good Start At The Finish

So far, my recent birthday pledge to read only authors new to me over the next year has been a mixed bag. But with several non-fiction books already started and more waiting in the near-future queue, it appears the last novel I'll finish in 2018 - "Last Night At The Lobster" (2007) - was a good start with author Stewart O' Nan.

Joan Didion once remarked that she didn't know her opinion about anything until she began writing about it. The fundamental truth of Didion's statement really landed with me as I composed a book journal entry about "Last Night …" Side-by-side, my writing about and processing of O' Nan's short book proceeded in tandem. Until midway through my entry, I hadn't realized how skillfully O' Nan captured the hand-to-mouth lives of his working class characters by limiting his narrative to a single twelve hour block of time. A world in microcosm; crowding up the novel with back story would have been superfluous.

" .. a line of salted cars takes a left into the mall entrance, splitting as they sniff for parking spaces."

From page one of "Last Night..." and O' Nan's use of that caressing verb "sniff", I knew I was in good hands. Anyone else ever been similarly transported by other another O' Nan book? If yes, give me the title and tell me what moved you. But remember: It will likely be sometime after November 23, 2019 before I'll even begin a second book by him. A pledge is a pledge.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read anything by O'Nan, but just want you to know that your last line is perhaps the thing I treasure most about who you are.

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