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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Books Read Lately

Deception by Philip Roth

An affair unfolds. Dialogue. Man & Woman, both married. She can’t let the husband go, and she can’t stop him from cheating. He is bored, adventuresome where his wife is not. They meet and talk, about what it is doing for them, why sex is one of the answers (or at least a diversion), and what it all means. Roth tells this intriguing story of love — and marriage’s remedy — through 95% dialogue. It’s a wonderful story, furiously delivered and ended on a note of  … deception.

A Way in the World by V.S. Naipaul

A writer has traveled back and forth from his homeland to the lands of his ancestors, the ancestors of other island inhabitants, and the antecedents of colonial power. Along the way, he finds stories that had been hidden, or suppressed, or nearly forgotten, or plainly kept for personal memory. Naipaul has used his life, and the life & history of Trinidad, as the springboard for most of his life’s work. We learn history here, but more so the stories of lives that have helped form history as we hadn’t heard it before.

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

On a getaway holiday to a famous island (unnamed, but, eventually, obvious), a man and a woman meet strangers who befriend them for no apparent reason. The holiday is, at various times, slow, busy, drunken, sober, hot, chilled, light, dark, crowded, and deserted. In this world of holiday fantasy, anything seems likely to happen. And then happen it does. McEwan used such sparse space to create a language and image explosion as to keep you guessing, make you want, and then ask for more.

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