Afterwords, the Reading Room

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

I_love_coffee

that's what it's all about....
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 11, 2012
Messages
519
Reaction score
80
Location
Far away
Finished Twisted River on Monday!

It's all still rolling around my head.

I did like the ending- but no spoilers from me. After the BIG scene with Carl- there is a lot of filler (imo) that I admit I skimmed over some.

I really enjoy John Irving's books. I think I've read 7 or 8- this was not my favorite, and I wouldn't recommend this to someone unless they were already an Irving fan. Hate to suggest that it could have been more tightly edited.

I can only imagine parts of this book being posted in SYW- and people yelling GET TO THE POINT, SHOW DON'T TELL, or THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!
 

Kylabelle

unaccounted for
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
26,251
Reaction score
4,023
:roll: I know what you mean about imagining it in SYW. :greenie.

Well, I just read the chapter Nom de Plume (could also be called Ketchum's Great Reveal) in which he blurts out some truths to Daniel over the phone. I think that is also a chapter where the timeline switches among about three or four different years of Daniel's life, which just made me laugh, but you gotta admit he pulled it off and it was not hard at all to follow.

I think I may like this one better than the others I read (also quite a few) because I can relate to the particular way these particular characters are nuts. IOW they're my kind of nuts. hahaha
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
I'm still limping through the final parts of Twisted River. I've been distracted this week with a lovely lady visiting from Michigan. I'll forgive myself for that :)

As far as recommending it, I would for the mood and tone of the first part before they leave for Boston, for characterization especially for Dom and Ketchum (the adult Danny didn't do much for me) and for how he plays with time and makes it work. As for story, meh overall.
 
Last edited:

Kylabelle

unaccounted for
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
26,251
Reaction score
4,023
I'm reading it very slowly, but savoring it. Once I finally make my way to the end I may have some complaints (and already I agree that the adult Danny is not the most interesting character by far) but as of now, none at all. The Boston scenes intrigue me. Carmella and all the Italians are wonderful to read about.
 

maxmordon

Penúltimo
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
11,536
Reaction score
2,472
Location
Venezuela
Website
twitter.com
Despite telling myself not to buy any more books today I bought four, but it was such a bargain!
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
I came thiiiiiiiis close to a book buying binge last weekend. I compromised on a "Secret Washington D.C." guide with all the offbeat stuff that's not in the regular tourist guides, like the steps the priest falls down at the end of The Exorcist.

On Twisted River, reading the last few bits made me realize the book was really about Ketchum, although he doesn't really change through the book.
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
Finished Twisted River! Thanks for encouraging me to read it, everyone. I don't think I would have finished it without the rest of you reading it too.

It was an enjoyable read, but could have been 2/3 its length without losing anything. I thought the "mopping up" of all the loose ends of the last 20% wasn't necessary. But a great study in playing with time, characterizations, and period/historical settings.
 

Kylabelle

unaccounted for
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
26,251
Reaction score
4,023
I'm the sluggard. Or the laggard. Or perhaps both. I am not yet to the middle. Daniel is just now driving himself and Joe to Windham College. I am starting here to feel the drag, Chris, and getting a little weary of hearing what everyone thinks about everyone else. I'll keep going though.

I kind of chuckled at the name dropping a bit ago, referring to Kurt Vonnegut and having him tell Danny that his (Danny's) first novel was the best book he'd ever read. Maybe I'm cynical after being at AW for a while but that really didn't ring true and sounded like the author indulging in a bit of retroactive wishful fantasy. (If I learn that something similar actually happened to Irving in his youth I will post an apology.)
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
I kind of chuckled at the name dropping a bit ago, referring to Kurt Vonnegut and having him tell Danny that his (Danny's) first novel was the best book he'd ever read. Maybe I'm cynical after being at AW for a while but that really didn't ring true and sounded like the author indulging in a bit of retroactive wishful fantasy. (If I learn that something similar actually happened to Irving in his youth I will post an apology.)

The "maybe capitalism will be good to you" is about as Vonnegutian* a line as they get! :)

When you get to the Iowa City parts, tell me if you think he overdid the local detail. I don't know if it just strikes me that way because I lived there. He provided a lot of detail in Boston, not so much in Toronto, but I'm not as familiar with either place.

(*von-a-GUSH-an, to my ears)
 
Last edited:

maxmordon

Penúltimo
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
11,536
Reaction score
2,472
Location
Venezuela
Website
twitter.com
Reading update:

* Finishing off Hunter Thompson's The Great Shark Hunt. The Spanish translation is so-so but Thompson's frantic style is superb and his report on Rubén Salazar's murder by the LAPD is no doubt the hightlight of the book.
* In the middle of Returning as Shadows by Paco Ignacio Taibo II. It's a thriller set in 1940's Mexico involving an old journalist and a one-armed agent of the Mexican government looking for Nazis in the Yucatán penninsula. At first it was confusing but once I got the hang of it I've been having quite a fun time. Still, I don't know how those chapters involving Ernest Hemingway fit in all of this, though.
* Just finished book 2 (of 4) of Persepolis, an autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. Very beautiful and fascinating insight on growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. I like how the protagonist and her family neither side with the Sha nor the religious government that came afterwards but are still flawed and involved in the whole thing (i.e. insulting the Iraki during the Irak-Iran War)
 

lacygnette

Sucked in by AW again
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
1,862
Reaction score
253
Website
www.terrilewis1.com
Recently read Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing. About an Indian family that has immigrated to the U.S. One of the early chapters had some of the worst family behaviour I've ever read. The results of it trickle down through the character's lives. There are also ghosts... I loved the novel. Joins my shelf of favorites.

I also read Far from the Madding Crowd for the first time. Jam packed with plot. But also characters to love. I remembered Hardy's long descriptions but I never realized how funny he was. Not everyone's cuppa, but despite skimming a few paragraphs, usually I was able to dig in and thoroughly enjoyed it.
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
I got Jonathan Franzen's Purity for Christmas, and I've been going through it for the last few weeks. It's a slow starter, but picks up in a big way after the 25% mark. It's part character novel about a woman looking for her biodad and part political tech thriller. I was hesitant to get it because I gave up on both The Corrections and Freedom, but I was told this one was much better and it is. I'm about halfway through and looking forward to the rest of it.
 

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,803
Reaction score
2,904
Location
Not where you last saw me.
The Words Without Borders November issue Within (and Without) These Borders: Writing from the US is chock-a-block with thought-provoking nonfiction, poetry, and short stories.

This month’s issue presents work by international writers living in the US. The eleven writers here expand both our sense of literary creativity and our understanding of life within, and without, the boundaries of this country. Marco Avilés interrogates skin color and privilege; Ezzedine Fishere depicts a disastrous coming out; and Yuri Herrera builds on Cortázar.

While not everything in this issue is my cup of tea particularly, each piece engages from an interesting perspective and is fascinating—creatively speaking.

From the article The World at Home: US Writing in Translation:

The writers presented here all came to the US from other countries and continue to write, and publish, in their original languages as well as in English translation. Their work contributes to the literatures of the lands and languages that defined them before they immigrated; but it also expands both our sense of literary creativity and our understanding of life within, and without, the boundaries of the US.
 

Ari Meermans

MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
12,803
Reaction score
2,904
Location
Not where you last saw me.
Ooh, the November 2019 issue of Words Without Borders is particularly good. I haven't yet found an issue that doesn't have something to like, but yeah, this month's issue is outstanding. See "Other Lives, Other Worlds".

Yeah.


Our November feature ventures into the otherworldly with three short stories that blur the boundary between reality and the supernatural. A checkers game has life-and-death consequences in a story by Ada Rémy and Yves Rémy; Robert Marcuse’s protagonist attempts to rid himself of his own shadow; and an unearthly source provides the key to a murder mystery in a story by Luiz Carlos Lisboa.
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
19,002
Reaction score
2,582
Location
Vienna, VA
I forgot all about this thread! Thanks for reviving.

I read Bel Canto when it first came out and enjoyed it, but I haven't felt compelled to ready any of her other fictions.

I think the only Patchett novel I've read is Commonwealth. It was an enjoyable read, somewhat memorable and what I like to read and aspire to write.

I'm currently reading Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. It's billed as a comedy, where Lillian the main character is hired as a nanny/governess by her old high school friend who is now married to a senator for their twin children who occasionally burst into flames. The children aren't hurt by this, and in fact seem to take impish glee in it. It's less of a comedy, however, and so far more of a heartfelt coming of age novel as Lillian grows into adult responsibilities.
 

Catriona Grace

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
303
Reaction score
78
How nice that this thread is revived; I didn't know it existed. I admire Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and have read it several times. Truth and Beauty, her biography of Lucy Grealy, was a discomforting book in its veneration of a self-absorbed heroin addict whose life was defined by the enormous challenge of disfiguring cancer. Grealy was a fine writer, but what lifted her writing out of obscurity was the heartbreaking and horrifying nature of her personal story, told in The Autobiography of a Face. In this article, one of Grealy's sisters states, "My sister Lucy was a uniquely gifted writer. Ann, not so gifted, is lucky to be able to hitch her wagon to my sister's star." Patchett's decision to publish the story of her relationship with Grealy aroused controversy and hard feelings, but given her own finest work, she had no need to hitch her wagon to anyone's star.
 

MacAllister

'Twas but a dream of thee
Staff member
Administrator
Super Moderator
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
VPX
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
21,753
Reaction score
9,975
Location
Out on a limb
Website
macallisterstone.com
I just finished Hail Mary, By Andy Weir. I quite liked it, a lot of "lone man stranded solving problems" with much of the story being revealed in skillful flashbacks. The narrator's voice is wry and funny, and the central plot-reveal discovery of just how he ended up in his predicament caught me off guard.

Starting Artemis, next.

I loved Bel Canto, too -- I find I have to be in the right mood for Patchett, but when I AM, she's marvelous.
 

Featured Book