Recently I've read China Mieville's - The City and The City, which, like everything else he's written, is magnificent. It follows a theme that he's dabbled with a couple of times, but the concept is just so fucking clever it was hard for me to visualise.
I've also just finished the new Christopher Brookmyre, which is undoubtedly one of his best. All new characters, still funny and plenty of science chucked in for good measure.
Despite the fact that I too have struggled with it - I got about 100 pages in before defecting to Gravity's Rainbow - I do think it's genius. Some of the prose is entrancing; I do find he applies it to the tedious, but that's a hallmark of postmodernism and hyper-realism anyway. I will finish it, but I'd like a hardback copy with larger text. I found the paperback a physical struggle, which is one of the reasons I jacked it in. I also think it would have been better to use footnotes instead of endnotes; I accept it's a part of the frame-breaking strategy but making me skip right to the end to see those notes is irritating in the extreme, as opposed to the engaging distractions of The Third Policeman or House of Leaves.
Last Edit: Jan 18, 2010 4:51:21 GMT -5 by Nickyboi
I think I managed a few hundred pages of Infinite Jest before giving up. I thought whilst the prose was very good the book itself was terrible at holding interest or engaging the reader, so whilst its marvellous from more of a scientific, literary p.o.v as an actual read it was pretty turgid. I'm a little glad its not just me who struggled: I am not generally a fan of postmodern literature and wondered if I was missing a trick.
At the moment I'm working my way through C.S Forester's Hornblower books. Quite dated, but wonderfully evocative and Hornblower himself is hilariously different from the all-action character from the BBC series or the old 1950's film. He's an incredibly flawed character and actually quite dislikable, yet at the same time brilliantly analytical and admirable. The books tend to always seem to end on a down note - for example, after kicking the Spanish all over the Med, Hornblower gets home to find he will miss out on the reward for his hard work due to a technicality, and his children have died of smallpox.
I'll happily admit to not really understanding what I assume is some sort chronology in that novel, either. I expect it becomes clear either in the course of the book or with a little work, but given that the requirement for the latter precluded me from progressing with the former, it's an anathema to me.
Gravity's Rainbow is quite hard work because it's so divergent, and in about 200 pages I've probably progressed about an inch with the plot. On the other hand, I know an awful lot about some fantastical characters and it's finally starting to assume some shape and direction, which is welcome. It reminds me in equal parts of Ulysses and The End of Mr. Y - with all the pros and cons that are implied.
I only turned to Pynchon since he was referenced on the back of House of Leaves. I've got Borges' Labyrinths on order at the library so hopefully that'll turn up soon.
OK, since I last wrote that I ditched Gravity's Rainbow. It isn't broken down into chapters, only 3 parts, and it became incredibly hard to read as paragraphs spanned whole pages and putting it down overnight meant not know what was going on the next time I picked it up, without back-tracking.
I've turned to Paul Auster for fiction and I can definitely recommend it. Really well written, bizarre meta-narratives with a very cool noire style.
It's abysmal mate. I have so many half-read books it's untrue. However, my time is quite precious to me so I see little point in persisting with something that I don't enjoy; I do that 36.5 hours a week!