Starting Over

Friday, March 24, 2006

Untold Stories

I was given Alan Bennett's Untold Stories as a Christmas present. I'd read good reviews of it but have to confess that although I knew he'd written the recent play 'The History Boys' and the script for 'The Madness of King George' I didn't know much about him - he is, I think, a typically English institution.
Alan Bennett is variously a writer, an actor, a director and broadcaster. This book is a kind of memoirs/collection of personal writing about family, upbringing and social lives. Bennett writes in what is both an extremely personal and also reticent and understated manner. In some ways embodying that Northern manner of not taking oneself or ones concerns too seriously. Switching between pathos, humour and tragedy Untold Stories is a heavy (lots of pages and often serious) but by no means heavy-going work. His observations on life are very real and very finely captured - so all in all a lovely present to receive.

Friday, March 10, 2006

God Jr.

Just finished reading Dennis Cooper's God Jr.
For those used to Cooper's work this may seem a departure - drug use is minimal and there isn't any sex! But in many other ways it follows Cooper's earlier work, beautifully written and as much concerned with the inner mind as what happen outside.
God Jr. explores the emotional aftermath of an accident which kills a man's son, through the obsessed, guilty and basically screwed up thoughts of the father, Jim, who tries to make sense of his own life through his son's obsessions with a video game and a mysterious tower. Cooper's spare, taut prose produces a tender and real depiction of grief and guilt that draw you in unsuspectedly to identifying with a flawed character. Short and very, very sweet.

Starting Over

I've cleaned up and deleted and am starting over.