Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Tape and On My Mind

I listen to a lot of books on tape. I listen to go to sleep at night, to stay awake while driving, and to pass the time on busses and trains. (I know the first two seem contradictory, don't they.) Not all books are good for all of these things.

Recently, I finally finished listening to Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning. It's NOT a good fall asleep book because I kept getting caught up in the story and not falling asleep. It's a great bus and train book, though.

I really like contemporary novels that try to do something other than the 19th century realism thing. I like magical realism usually, for example. I like epistolary novels. I like books that try to do something interesting, even when they don't fully succeed.

And so, I liked Tan's novel a lot, because it has a really interesting conceit and works it through in interesting ways. The narrator, you see, is a ghost. And there are gnats (I'm not sure of the spelling) around, sort of mini-gods of places and things, and they have power and the narrator treats them as real, or real enough.

And it's a travel book that thinks about what it means to travel and how and where one chooses to travel, and I think that's important to me. And I love travel narratives anyway.

I would totally love to sit in on a really good college level discussion of the book!

(And I really liked the tale behind the title.)

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