Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August Reading

Just recently I have been catching up with a little reading. In fact, over the last couple of days, since finishing an editorial report, I have done very little else.

I have dipped into The Turing Test by Chris Beckett, read a little more from The Lure of China by Frances Wood, contemplated starting The legend of Liz and Joe by John Murray but then, unfortunately, managed to finish Mortification edited by Robin Robertson. This was 'unfortunate' because the book finished with an anecdote by Niall Griffiths - and his moment of authorly mortification involved dope-fuelled onanism (with accidental spectator) - and I felt that the only thing that could possibly follow that was a little Irvine Welsh.

I'd been pondering over REHEATED CABBAGE (a book sent to me for review by Jonathan Cape) for a couple of weeks. I'd flicked through, noted the way it started with a foul-mouthed Rab C Nesbitt type dialect, and closed it again. I didn't think I'd like it. But after reading Niall Griffiths I felt I was ready to give it a try. To be honest I'd thought it wouldn't be long before I'd throw it away in disgust. I'd heard of Trainspotting, and I'd always assumed Irvine Welsh was popular purely because of his use of aggressive language and the violence of his plot... but I was wrong. Although I was indeed disgusted by the behaviour and the misogynist attitudes of the characters, I also found myself stunned by the quality of the writing, and, in the end, as moved by one the later stories as I have be anything that I've ever read.

I want to read more by him, but not just yet. It's the sort of book that can't really be followed by more fiction because it is too powerful, so instead I am going to read some non-fiction - COLLIDER by Paul Halpern. It is about the search for the world's smallest particles inside the Hadron Collider. It sounds like another amazing story - but in another way entirely.

In the meantime I am going to give Reheated Cabbage a couple of days before writing about it properly - and shall post the review in Bookmunch.


Blogger jem said...

Interesting to hear your reactions to the Irvine Welsh. I used to read quite a bit, and thought he captured a certain section of humanity very well. He can be a great storyteller, painting vivid and memorable pictures. I've never forgotten some of the stuff I've read, but somehow after reading a fair number of his books it all became a bit samey. Good to see how a newcomer finds him.

Thu Aug 06, 02:23:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, I can imagine that, Jem! He does seem to have taken a new direction if his most recent work in this anthology is anything to go by.

Sat Aug 08, 01:28:00 pm  

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