Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Lost Dog

A few weeks ago, in the grips of a terrible reading-malaise, I moaned that if only there were a new Michelle de Kretser novel I could love books again.

Obligingly enough a reading copy appeared (thank you to the bookseller-husband) of de Kretser's brand new book, The Lost Dog. I'm hoping it's coming out in hardcover soon so I can put it on my 'favourite books' shelf.

I wish I could write the review that the book deserves, but I fear I cannot. I love Michelle de Kretser's work, and embarrassed myself horribly at the Brisbane Writers Festival a few years ago by telling her precisely how much I adored The Hamilton Case, and how I thought it should win the Boooker Prize. I think I was telling her in some detail a theory about the use of blankets as a recurring symbol in her book as well. And she was gracious, kind and took time to consider what I was saying, although in retrospect it was clear that what she really wanted to do was have a cool drink and relax for a while.

So I started the book with a feeling of anxiety - what if I didn't like it? What if I was expecting so much that I couldn't love it? No need for the worry though, by the time I'd finished I was resenting the fact that there is not a backlist of twenty more titles for me to go out and read immediately.

The book is, naturally, about a lost dog. No one, however, can fit as much into a novel as de Kretser does. She never, ever, ever makes it feel overstuffed, though. If her books were furniture they would be hand made leather sofas that offer terrific back support, demand stroking and give the thrill of knowing that everyone else of your acquaintance is wildly envious.

You can see the book record at Amazon. It's coming out next year apparently. No doubt someone capable of incisive, critical thought and writing filled with wild joy will then write a suitable review. I shall spend my time happily wallowing in the pleasure that such a book can bring, and perhaps go and read some Henry James short stories.

Other Reading:
Me - The Man Who Knew Too Much - a bio of Alan Turing which is a bit too breathless. Bios like this can only be tolerated if the reader is absolutely obsessed with the subject matter. I'm not sure I'll be able to stick with it all the way, despite my reasonable interest in Turing. The Noodle wishes to know how it is possible to know 'too much', since his mission is to find out everything possible in the world.

Noodle - Groosham Grange again. He is still not over his Harry Potter inspired nightmares, so I am not sure if this is a great idea. However, the parents in this book are so divinely horrible that they make me look great by comparison, since I have never yet threatened to hang the Noodle by his heels in the refrigerator. I suspect that soon we will be owning the whole Naughtiest Girl series, and probably the Secret Seven as well.

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