Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Dead Language, etc.

I've got a bad case of book bloat going on--there's way too much doublestacking in the study--and new bookcases are contingent on other household projects taking place before they can be built and installed. Dare I commit to a book-buying moratorium until the first of October? No caveats this time; coupons and gift certificates take up less space on the shelves, and between my haul at ALA last month and the review copies and orders I've received since, surely I can put off acquiring anything else until I've worked my way through a few of the ones that are already bulging out from the shelves at me.

Received yesterday:

An advanced readers copy of Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs from Stefanie (Thank you, Stefanie! We love Russo in this household.) and, from Amazon, the slipstream anthology Feeling Very Strange, which I'm pretty sure I heard about via Readerville.

On order and still to come:

Identical Strangers, a memoir from Library Thing's Early Reviewers second batch of review copies, and, from Amazon, Charles Baxter's The Art of Subtext and Bernd Heinrich's The Snoring Bird, a memoir I first heard about via MFS.


I spent most of last week with Peter Rushforth's A Dead Language. As you may remember if you're a longtime reader of this blog, I was totally enamored by Rushforth's Pinkerton's Sister, which I wrote about back in 2005 (and, surprise, surprise, carried on about the lack of shelf space in the same post).

A Dead Language is a continuation of the story begun in Pinkerton's Sister. Or rather, it chronologically preceeds the earlier volume while taking up where Alice's memories ended up in the first--with the suicide of her father. ADL is really a slo-mo stream -of- consciousness exploration of emotional abuse. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, Alice Pinkerton's younger brother and Madame Butterfly's future abandoner, is a disappointment to his father, who doesn't regard him as being manly enough to deserve either decent treatment or love. Continually mocked for his physical delicateness and warned off from any of his natural inclinations or interests--books, music, choice of friends-- Ben experiences no emotional reprieve after his father's death; a week before, his father instructed the naturally-sadistic and oh-so-obliging Latin teacher at Ben's new school in how best to humiliate him.

Amo. Amas. Amat. Pater filium amat.

Years of horrific abuse suffered by Ben and the small band of misfit boys come to an end when Oliver, Ben's Oscar Wilde-influenced best friend, takes a fitting revenge against the teacher in the book's final pages.

Yet the emotional wounds are those that won't heal.

And Rushforth died before completing the third novel about the Pinkertons.

Sigh.

I'll put up a commonplace post of quotes in a day or so.

I found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows waiting for me when I came home from work Saturday afternoon, and I stopped only to finish the last 30 pages of the Rushforth and to gloat that I hadn't paid for same-day shipping ha-ha-ha, before diving right in. Finished it Sunday afternoon.

Now I'm reading Patrick O'Brian's The Far Side of the World.

4 comments:

Gentle Reader said...

Ooh, I love Patrick O'Brian--hope you enjoy that. And the Pinkerton series sounds fascinating...

Matt said...

Hey, I love Patrick O'Brian as well! I think I'm on book 13 or 14 right now. It's an amazing series, I think of Aubrey and Maturin as old friends at this point. I really need to get back to those books...

stefanie said...

yay! Glad you got the book and I hope you enjoy it.

Harry Potter ended well, yes?

Good luck on the book acquisition moratorium!

Dewey said...

I sure understand doublestacking! I had to ban myself from using bookmooch because my tbr bookcase is so completely doublestacked that I would have to start a new tbr shelf elsewhere if even one more book came in.

Looking forward to the quotes!