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January 29, 2005


Reminded by the 53 ages in Bel Canto of 253 by Geoff Ryman - a book we read early on and which rather divided us as to its worth. And then there's our house number...

January 24, 2005

Bel Canto

Nearly finished but a wonderful powerful novel, I keep on finding echoes of plots of operas hidden in there - maybe some of them are wishful thinking on my part...?

  • Carmen - echoes everywhere - and quoted in a few places.
  • Prisoners coming out to the light - Fidelio
  • The names are a web of references
  • girls appearing to be boys (Rosenkavalier?)
  • Madam Butterfly - the Japanese and the American - but the genders swapped
  • Is there an opera with [K]Cato and C[a]esar in? Google suggests Catone in Utica by Vivaldi

but an intermediate me, me, me reaction. Mr. Hosokawa is 53 at the start of the story, his birthday he receives a wonderful gift that ensnares and changes him that seems pretty unpleasant. I am now 53 on my 53rd birthday - an anniversary - as the book says, I had a meeting with the head of the company where I was offered extra responsibility and welcome things that went with it. But he knew he was lying and three weeks later I was at home with a coming redundancy. Trapped - not wanting to go out of the house, but there's a question - as in the book - as to how far the imprisonment is voluntary.

I'm sure that's grossly indulgent!

January 17, 2005

January's book

.. a little late but the meeting was a little late! - is Ann Patchett's Bel Canto.
With a reading guide

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett should be on the list of every literate music lover. The story is riveting, the participants breathe and feel and are alive, and throughout this elegantly-told novel, music pours forth so spendidly that the reader hears it and is overwhelmed by its beauty. Ann Patchett is a special writer who has written a special book. Lloyd Moss, WXQR

Sounds as if it could be good!

En l’absence des hommes

I've started "En l’absence des hommes" by Philippe Besson - in the original French - we'll see how well I get on with it! Also how it competes with the new BATS book which should be arriving tonight..

January 05, 2005

My Sweet untraceable you

Female detective fiction - Sandra Scoppettone's - Lauren Laurano series. Slighly guying the conventions of the medium. Not the first time I've read this one - agreeable post-Christmas reading. I see she also has a weblog