Thursday, 16 December 2010

Adieu 2010

Well, that year rather flashed by. If you have any tips on how to slow down time – as in bona fide, physics-based sleights of hand, rather than any New Age guff – please let me know. As years go it was a good un, surreal at times, perhaps typified by finding myself on this list with some heavyweights of fiction. And Kate Bush.

So, looking back, what books made an impression on me? Fewer than normal, I’d say, but then there was less time for reading for pleasure than I’d have liked. Seven hundred or so short stories were appraised, some of which were quite good. And I found myself listening to more stories than before. But as novels went, those I enjoyed the most were from years gone by.

And so given how much time is still required on the novel, and how little shopping for gifts I’ve done, I’m just gonna mention three.

Part fable, part allegory this ambitious, original novel won me over with its assured, unsettling voice and elegance.


The language here is so beautifully lyrical, the story so haunting and compelling, were it not for the ending (which I know riles some people), I’d have regarded this as great rather than very good.

Shriver’s retrospective and chilling narrative isn’t, I’m sure, for everyone, but I found it a remarkable achievement, and probably tips it for my book of the year.

Well, that’s ya lot for 2010. Have a jolly festive time, whatever you're doing, and I hope to see you on the other side.

5 comments:

Caroline Green said...

I loved two of those three, Tom, but couldn't connect with TSS at all...can't put my finger on why. But thoroughly agree with you about Kevin and TRR. A very happy Christmas to you too.

charlotteotter said...

I'm with you on Kevin, Tom. One of my top five books ever for its brutal audacity and honesty.

Rachel Fenton said...

I'm looking forward to reading Shriver - had it on the top third of the reading pile for a while - maybe I'll take some pleasure reading time this holiday!

Happy Holidays, Tom. May 2011 bring you even more success! (Is that possible?)

Susannah Rickards said...

well, I'm very glad to have made your online acquaintance this year, Tom and to have been introduced to your precise and powerful writing.

Slowing down time. I watched a programme on this recently. Stephen Hawkins, so not new age guff. Apparently time has weight (who knew?) So if you can somehow make it heavier, it slows down. I recommend submitting to agents and publishers, sorting out paperwork and doing tax returns as excellent sources of adding a few tonnes to a day.

TOM J VOWLER said...

TSS does seem to divide folk, Caroline. I forgave its ending, but I know many who didn't.

Indeed, Charlotte. Not sure I've read a book quite like it.

Thanks, Rachel. Do let us know what you make of Kevin.

A real shame we didn't meet up in the flesh, S, which we must rectify in 2011. Much more snow and I think Patrick should invite us to his sunnier climes.