Over the next few weeks we’re going to be treated to new novels by two giants of American literature: Michael Chabon, whose book “Moonglow” is released in a matter of days, and Paul Auster, whose new work “4 3 2 1” is scheduled for early 2017. I have a somewhat turbulent relationship with these two writers; both have penned novels that I would unhesitatingly include in my all-time favourite book list and both have, on occasion, produced novels that have left me quite disappointed. I first read Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” when I started working as a bookseller back in the early noughties; it’s one of those novels that almost everyone in the book trade loves, and it was pressed upon me by my new colleagues as if reading it was some kind of bookselling rite of passage. Fortunately I loved it, thus saving myself from becoming a social pariah within the workplace, and although my job has moved on I genuinely love it still. I also really enjoyed his other novels (even if “Kavalier and Clay” remained my firm favourite) up until his most recent offering, “Telegraph Avenue”. It’s a terrible feeling when an author you adore produces a book you don’t, and I was heartbroken to find I couldn’t even finish “Telegraph Avenue”, completely unengaged as I was with the characters or the setting. Still, a new Michael Chabon book is a source of anticipation for me and only slightly tinged with trepidation, as that one book has been the only miss among a succession of hits, and I do love the sound of “Moonglow”.
Paul Auster is a slightly different kettle of fish. I read a large number of his novels some years back, starting with his earliest works, and found in them some of the most remarkable writing I’ve ever come across. I’d pick out “Leviathan” and “Moon Palace” as favourites if I had to, but it seemed this man could produce one work of genius after another. Then at a certain point I felt the magic start to dim. Was it simply because I had read so many? I’m not sure, but I couldn’t shake the sensation that the flair and wonder was missing from his most recent novels. So I took a break, and to be honest I haven’t revisited any of his books for a very long time. Maybe it was as a result of this hiatus that I found I was incredibly excited when I saw “4 3 2 1” mentioned on Twitter a few days ago. Let’s face it, my least favourite Auster novels are still a class act compared with many others I’ve read, and I can’t wait to see if this time round I feel the magic again.
Hopefully I’ll be getting my hands on both books as soon as I can, and you can be sure I’ll share my thoughts with you. See you back on Girl, Reading soon!