Musings on city writers

The weather today,

was windy and brisk,

a nice April day.

I went to the library,

brought back,

those Jane Rules,

she’s a good writer,

but,

right now,

her stuff,

just isn’t,

speaking to me.

I made it through most,

of the,

Chatwin biography,

interesting man,

an original,

free thinker,

but,

I think I should,

read his novels,

I like novels.

I just don’t enjoy,

biography and non-fiction,

like I used to.

In all readers lives,

there are phases,

perhaps my,

biography phase,

has come and gone,

well,

for the,

foreseeable future,

anyway.

I finished Cakes and Ale,

I loved it,

again,

Maugham,

is one of the few authors,

I can read more,

than once,

and enjoy,

of course,

there is John Irving,

but,

he’s special to me,

kind of like,

hockey,

and cats:-)

In January,

I read a novel by,

Bernard Malamud,

The Tenants,

it was one of those,

bottom of the box books,

I was surprised at how much,

I liked it.

So, on Saturday,

once it started,

hailing!!

and,

business dried up,

so to speak,

I discovered another,

Malamud on my shelves,

The Associate,

again a  novel,

about a tortured,

poor,

Jewish man,

in Brooklyn.

I started it,

then and there.

I have a thing,

for Brooklyn,

I always,

have,

don’t ask,

I don’t know.

I also have a thing,

for New York writers,

I love the hope and yearning,

buried under cynicism,

you have to dig for it,

but,

it’s there.

City people appear,

more jaded,

harder,

they aren’t,

they are just a little,

more cautious,

which they hide,

under bluster,

they want just,

as much,

but,

perhaps,

they expect less.

Probably,

a result,

of lack of,

fresh air,

green space,

quiet,

real quiet.

Never really,

quiet,

in the city,

never completely,

dark either,

light polution,

noise polution,

air polution,

makes all us,

city folk,

a little crazy:-)

Now,

New York,

that’s a special,

case,

the model,

of such,

conditions,

to me New York,

has always been,

the microcosm,

of American society,

everything,

that’s good about it,

and,

everything rotten,

as well.

To me they are,

THE,

North American city.

As a Quebecer,

a Montrealer,

I am a North American,

of a different stripe,

I live in a French city,

on an English,

mostly American,

continent,

a weird combination,

strangely enough,

these writers,

the,

Baldwins,

the,

Shulmans,

help me give texture,

to my experience.

I like their hard,

intellectual shell,

I like their,

mal de vivre,

their,

want of a better world,

in spite of the dirt,

and,

grime,

their hope,

for a better,

society,

in spite of,

constant examples,

of the failures,

of society’s experiments,

their movement,

their imobility.

I find hope,

in their hopelessness…

This probably makes no sense.

I’ll have to think on it,

some more.

Meantime,

I’ll be reading Malamud.

Later girls,

BB

Published by

Bookish Butch

I am a bookish butch in my very early fifties. I live in Montréal and always have. I used to run a small used bookstore. Reading keeps me sane. My latest jiggie is photography, book project in the works, living the dream

6 thoughts on “Musings on city writers”

  1. I have a thing for the early writings of John Irving – possibly because the style was newish and strangely touching at the time when I frist read it – I was still young and a BIG reader.

    I got in touch with Irving – probably like so many other readers – through the film “The world according to Garp”, and this novel as well as “Setting free the bears”, “The Hotel New Hampshire” and “The Ciderhouse Rules” are still among my favorites. I lost touch with Irving for a while, but got back for “The fourth Hand” and “Until I find You” which I didn’t really find catching.

    I have “Last Night at Twisted River” waiting on the shelf for a lovely summer day with nothing better to do than lounge in the shade of a big tree with a little something to drink and a good book – I hope I’m not disappointed with Irving this time… if so I just have to grap up the old copy of “The World According ….” and dig in.

  2. I like his early stuff best as well, Garp to me is tops, I wasn’t crazy about the Fourth Hand, Until I Find You was OK, I liked Twisted River, I hope you do as well, 🙂 But, even when I don’t think it’s his best work, I still like him, he’s special to me.

  3. I do – just posted a review actually!

    I had to read Bruce Chatwin’s novel On the Black Hill for my A-levels. As far as I remember it was good, but bleak and quite strange, very influenced by D.H Lawrence I think. I can’t say it encouraged me to read any more of his stuff because I haven’t. My teacher had a terrible crush on him, though, and kept going on about what a beautiful man he was.

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