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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Books Read Lately: Hamson, Nabokov, DeLillo

On Muted Strings by Knut Hamson
The second part of “The Wanderer” bi-logy 🙂 is a pastoral book, in which the Norwegian countryside is mirrored against the Norwegian psyche. Hamson, a Nobel prizewinner, has a light touch with his prose. There are no tricks here, either. The story of Knut Pedersen is the story of everyman — work, living, loving — who feels his way through the world (a very small place, when the truth is found).

Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
Nabokov said this was his favorite book to write; he poured many years into this tale of “family relations” … okay, let’s call it what it is: incest (between young cousins). The story lasts a lifetime: there is infatuation, lust, love, friendship, separation, memory and thought. But Van never forgets Ada, nor she him. And that’s the story (and point of the story). Meanwhile, Nabokov has written a most witty story, wrapped & infused & tapestry laden with allusions for a month’s reading and years’ worthy of remembrance.

The Names by Don DeLillo
Outside Athens, there is a cult living hand to mouth. Hardly seen, but felt by the locals. Single murders happen over the course of years. Then a man, his ex-wife, and their son, live in close proximity. He finds interest in the story behind the most recent murder. The compulsion to learn what “the names” means is the food by which he learns why he’s not the man his wife thought him to be. A great book.


What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.


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