Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Picks of 2011 - Andrew

This has had mixed reviews, partly because it's not seen as measuring up against his unmatched (and perhaps unmatchable) In the Skin of a Lion (1987) and The English Patient (1982). This book should not be dismissed, however, as it is a charming evocation of a childhood journey by sea. Fans of the above-mentioned books will also find much to appreciate in the later sections of the book when Mynah, the thinly-veiled Ondaatje character, recalls episodes from his adult life.

I haven't yet read anything else by Eugenides (I'm not whether sure seeing Coppola Jr's film version of The Virgin Suicides counts), but this book has inspired me to go on to read his much-lauded Middlesex (2002). I get the impression The Marriage Plot is not as weighty as his 2002 novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is undoubtedly in no small part due to the fact that much of the Eugenides character Mitchell's university experience closely mirror my own, although the favourable reactions of others who have read it suggest that there is more to it than that.


I only finished reading the prior novels just before this was released, so I've yet to suffer the long wait his other fans have. This one ends on as tantalising a finish as his others, however, so I'm steeling myself for years of angst before the next arrives. A Dance with Dragons fleshes out even more of the world previously only mentioned in passing, visiting infamous historical sites and paying off more set-ups than the earlier works. A must for all fans, including those who have just joined through the TV series.

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