The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes
I like a book this size. It’s nice to carry, and evidently digestible on more than one occasion (I’m tempted to say philosophically self evident). This edition has blacked edges to the pages which lend it a funereal air. No wonder that the images listed in the first few lines draw a distinct response from you as a reader (or least they did from me).
Don’t imagine that my ramblings about the appearance are to gloss over a lack of content. There’s something akin to quiet power about the tale therein, and a certain inevitability too. Above all the story raises an eyebrow and looks at you quizzically. “So, did you ever…heat of the moment…when you didn’t really mean it?” It asks. How honest would we be before reading, and how honest after?
Five Bells by Gail Jones
I realised after a few pages that I’ve also read Dreams Of Speaking by Gail Jones, which I enjoyed. I think Gail has a style that may well be quite polarising. I was quite aware not simply of a story being told, but of language being used. She is very poetic at times, almost to the extent that the image rendered obscures the tale. Reading this book was almost like watching an abstract painting being done. I found it very visual, the forms gradually taking shape on the canvas so that at different times you see different things.
For me, this was an enjoyable read and I’m sure I’ll come round to Gail’s work again in the future.
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
It’s just that I know you, the young woman replies.
Perhaps the least you can ask of a book or a story is that it makes you think. This book made me think a lot. It made me think things like this:
If you read the book, do you know the writer? If the story lives, does the author become the illusion? How much do we really ever know of the people we come across? Are we simply a constellation of solipsisms passing through each other’s fields of gravity? Is what we see in others a reflection of our own invention or the true substance of their projection?
As a writer, to an extent you are inevitably engaged in the production of a solipsism, and the stronger the life of that world, the better the story is likely to be. Every time we write we negate the world around us, which includes ourselves, to give life to the creation. What wonders of literature have existed in the world only in the form of their own unimpeachable universe that will never be seen, and so have never really existed?
Bravo Mr Auster.