...one before drinks and one after.
Before drinks (this is a book that demands concentration and attention) I'm reading The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser. It's a brilliant narrative that works on several levels. On one level a man loses his dog and sets out to find it. On another level he thinks about his relationship with his elderly and increasingly decrepit mother. On another level we're thinking back to his childhood in India. On another level he thinks back over a failed marriage and the failing relationship he is having with an artist. On another level the artist may be a murderer or insane or perhaps just weird. Then there are discussions of art, reality, painting, writing - the main character, Tom, is writing a critical book on Henry James. There is an air of generalised menace that permeates the whole book - as though all of these layers are just a distraction from some vast and deadly something that is going to happen...If I had to mention books that this is a bit like I would go for a blend of Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved and JM Coetzee's Disgrace.
There's a quote from James at the start "The whole of anything can never be told" and that holds true for descriptions of this book. Let's just say that in my opinion this is Literature.
Then after drinks (because this is a book that makes being sober seem kind of wrong) is what I'm convinced will end up a kind of warped classic - the awesomely messed up Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock.
The dude worked in a meatpacking plant after leaving school then moved up in the world to a position in a paper mill where he remained for thirty two years honing his literary skills.
The stories are DARK but very funny. You will giggle like an evil sprite then feel all guilty when you are more sober. All the best jokes are a bit evil aren't they? Oh, that's just me is it? Well look - if you thought We Need To Talk About Kevin was more darkly comic that outrageously offensive then you'll probably like Knockemstiff...