I think that a pretty good way to depart this life


Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

Review time! Hurray!


So I’ve been putting pictures up on the right there about what I’m reading at the mo, and you’ll notice (if you read this in time) that I’ve been stuck on The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes for a few weeks now. It’s not an easy book to read in short bursts on the tube into work – this much is clear to me. Little else is from the novel however…

I have the basic plot trajectory, this I understand. But the way Fuentes lilts in and out of reality, past, present, future, the way the emphases shift and the narrators change with no warning or explanation… it’s all quite vivid yet utterly bewildering. The plot is almost secondary to Fuentes’ bold vistas and panoramas of Mexico, and the attempts to capture the wild and changing thoughts of the protagonists. And yet… maybe I didn’t sit reading it in long enough swathes, because it all seemed just a touch unnecessary; a nice idea, to introduce the dream-like state of affairs, and at times I could feel it working – the idea of travelling in a comandeered train across an enormous desert lends itself to a slightly spaced-out feel anyway – but for me, the narrative didn’t flow enough for me to get any perspective on the whole shebang, or even connect with the characters.

That was a little frustrating. I liked Ambrose Bierce, but I was disappointed that I never had any chance to really connect with him.

Ah well, this is the way it goes. Looks like next in my book bag is… Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk.


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