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Reading progress with Carey and Barker

July 17, 2011

I’ve now finished Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, and I enjoyed it. The writing is really, really unique; I’m quite enjoyed the writer’s voice and the way that it, just as much as the words themselves, set the novel in a place and time. Nothing like dialect masterfully used, I suppose.

Ultimately though, I’m having mixed responses to what I read. Maybe that’ll change by the time I prepare a review-like article, but I feel like I may have gotten shafted in some way. I’ll explain that in about a week or so. Because this novel, more than any other I have read this year, feels like it deserves so many more accolades than I can offer it. I am decidedly mixed on my thoughts.

I’ve started up Pat Barker’s The Eye in the Door. I tend not to read an author so quickly in succession as I am this one, but I suppose breaking the trend is acceptable when it is a series of books meant to be read somewhat close to succession. I can recall the feeling I had putting down Regeneration (the first book in the trilogy), and how desperately I wanted to pick up the second immediately. In retrospect I am glad that i did not – Barker’s masterful Regeneration is worthy of taking more time to consider.

The flow from the first book to the second thus far seems rather seamless. Some familiar characters and some new ones. And some surprisingly graphic moments. Gay sex abounds, it seems, in war-time England. It certainly tempts me towards a comparative study of sexuality during wartime amongst the allied nations – particularly those under the commonwealth. But that is my academic side popping up. Regardless, I am quite fascinated.

I have been reminded that Barker writes phenomenally well. She does dialogue perfectly. She does setting perfectly. She does thought patterns perfectly. I must remember that, when I finish this book, I must take time in between to before I move on to the third novel in the series, Ghost Road. The Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee awaits, as does The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht and Midnight Children by Salman Rushdie. Many options. So little interest in considering them – I would much rather just soak in Pat Barker’s words for a while longer.

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