Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Thin Place

I just finished The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis. I've never read anything else by Davis; judging from a cursory skimming of old reviews, she seems to be somewhat of a critic's darling, a cult favorite of sorts.

The title of her latest novel is a term from Celtic Christianity, used to describe a place where the physical and spiritual worlds meet. It takes place in a fictitious New England town, present day, during the spring and summer.

It is an extraordinary book. I won't say it's a complete success, because it ultimately relies on some unconvincing plot details to give it a sense of forward motion, but it is one of the most wonderfully (in the sense of "full of wonder") written novels I have ever read. The author really does create a thin place of her own in this modern American town, and makes us see the awesome variety, beauty, and terror of creation in every small detail.

The book is really a series of marvelous details and highly original observations, an ambitious attempt to weave reality and dream, fact and myth, pagan and Christian into one fabric. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. It overreaches in places and becomes merely confusing or oqaque. And the conclusion seems forced and unconvincing, dispelling some of the novel's intricate sense of wonder. But the overall effect is unlike any other book I have ever read. There is humor here as well, and an engaging cast of small-town eccentrics.

For those who need a tightly plotted story or prose with the clarity of Hemingway, forget it. For those who simply enjoy getting drunk on words, a feast.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Finding The Unbinding?

Have any of you been reading the new novel, being published serially at Slate.com, by Walter Kirn, The Unbinding? I just started reading it today, and wonder what any of you might think of it. And, if you are familiar with Walter Kirn, how does this compare to anything else he has written? And, if you have an opinion on internet-based publishing like this, what do you think.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kafka on the Shore

Soooooo. Buddha told us one of his favorite books of the year was Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Well, as you might imagine, that served to pique my curiosity.

I'm about two-thirds through the novel and all I can say is that this is one acid-trippin' roller-coaster of an experience! It's a great book, a tour de force of human creativity, ingenuity, philosophy, dreams and passion. Talk about lyrical phrasing! My book is festooned with high-lighted passages and dog-eared pages galore.

I don't know if Murakami's other novels are as compelling and engrossing, but I intend to find out.

By the way - Ed. Can you give me the name again of the female poet you mentioned when we were discussing Mary Oliver?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Orhan Pamuk Interviewed

Some while ago, we'd discussed the work and trials of Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. An interview with him is posted to the Guardian.

Click!