Joanne Kyger: On Time: Poems 2005-2014
This is a lovely day-book, a Zen-inflected chronicle of Kyger's days beginning in the Bush-the-Lesser era, and continuing until the present. The poems are witty and observant, the language bracingly sparse: Art that almost seems artless.
Sarah Pinborough: The Shadow of the Soul: The Forgotten Gods: Book Two (The Forgotten Gods Trilogy)
Most trilogies sag in the middle volume. This one, which I waited a long time to start after not being all that impressed with the initial volume, rises. Pinborough gives us an intriguing enough mixture of gritty urban noir, police procedural, and horror that I've already gone on to volume three: no long hiatus this time.
Zoran Zivkovic: Four Stories Till the End
The standard form for swords-and-lords style fantasy is the quest. Thus there are a lot of fantasy tomes that feature characters walking around. Zoran Živković writes a different kind of fantasy, and uses different forms. I'll write more about that in my piece on this book forthcoming on the Kurodahan Press blog. The URL will be added when, you know, I finish writing it.
Zoran Zivkovic: Compartments
Another demonstration of the rigor that makes Zoran Živković's fiction so successful. More here:
Sarah Caudwell: Thus Was Adonis Murdered
I've been hearing about Sarah Caudwell's mysteries for years, and the people from whom I've heard about them are discerning, so I looked forward to this. I wasn't disappointed. The sentences drip with wit and style, the humor is actually humorous (something which can't be taken for granted), and there's a depth of learning underlying the nonsense that successfully supports it. I'll read on in the series.
Lea O'Harra: Imperfect Strangers: An Inspector Inoue mystery
Lea O'Hara's Imperfect Strangers is set in Japan, and as such must necessarily tell us about the country. She mostly does a good job of that, avoiding particularly tedious info dumps and by teaching us things about Japan that are actually, you know, true. The puzzle she creates--who murdered the head of a small Christian university in Kyushu--is fun enough to try and unravel, though she does take her time about introducing one or two characters who are keys to figuring things out. All in all a diverting read by this first-time mystery author.
David Lagercrantz: The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series
David Lagercrantz does a good job of continuing Steig Larsson's Millenium Series. The politics underlying the novels remain the same, and the characters don't do or say anything that seems at odds with the characters as Larsson depicted them. As riveting as Larsson's narratives could be he was not always a graceful writer, and the info dumps sometimes clunked down rather heavily. Lagercrantz--intentionally?--follows in the master's footsteps, both in creating a gripping narrative, but also in the heavy clunks.
Elizabeth Jane Howard: All Change (Cazalet Chronicles)
This is the fifth and final volume of Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet Chronicles. As such, it has a valedictory feel to it, but is nevertheless a necessary read for those who've followed the family through the generations. As a whole the series is a skillfully done social chronicle of a hundred or so years of English life.
Zoran Zivkovic: The Library
This is a reread. I picked it up again because I'm writing a few short pieces for the Kurodahan Press blog about Zivkovic. The stories are as fresh as when I first read them: good fun in the key of Borges.
Anthony Trollope: Phineas Redux (The Palliser Novels)
At a pace of about one volume a year I continue to work my way through Trollope's Palliser novels. In Phineas Redux the central character, Phineas Finn, turns radical in a way that is surprising from a writer as essentially conservative as Trollope. Finn becomes entirely disillusioned with the government of which he has always wanted to be a part, and seems, at novel's end, to have, angry and disgusted, withdrawn himself from it entirely. One expects this won't last, and that even his marriage to the wealthy, attractive, and very independent Madame Goesler--a marriage, by the way, of a Catholic to a Jew in Victorian England--will not be enough for him.