So, I finished Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Which took me exactly two weeks to finish. Those were the longest 607 pages of my life.
I was so overwrought by the last chapter that if it had ended any differently, I might have spontaneously combusted. I'd also like to note that it makes two errors writing teachers always warn you about: it begins with the phone ringing and ends with somebody falling asleep. That just shows you that 95% of what writing teachers say (David Hollander and Nelly Reifler not included) is bullshit.
What Bird Chronicle does that I think a lot of books of this length fail to accomplish is it manages to encompass successfully a very long span of time. Long books about short spans of time (read: Ulysses) are hard to imagine on a real-world scale. Ulysses is 1000+ pages and takes the span of a single day. Um, yeah. Murakami breaks up the novel into "books" that span seasons; the sum total time of the book is around two years. I was very, very impressed by this, maybe more than I was by Murakami's lyricism (because lyrical writing can get tiresome and resort to line fillers like overuse of metaphor and simile and after awhile you're just reading how she is the pot and I am the boiling water kind of shit) and the absolutely marvelous work done by the translator. Marvelous in that it, at no point, felt like a book in translation.
One of the best books I've read, maybe ever.
x-posted to my LiveJournal.
I read "The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own" by Periel Aschenbrand, she of Body As Billboard reknown, in 90 minutes. What the fuck was Penguin thinking? Tarcher smacked of desperation already when they blitzed anybody on the YPG list with every single book they came out with, but damn. The book is just bad. Self-indulgent, boring, rambling. Periel is the Paris Hilton of the marginally-political set. I actually threw the book away when I was done [it was a galley, I got it for free, don't panic]. Threw it away.
You get a D+, Tarcher/Penguin.