Thursday, October 30, 2008

a weird and beautiful book

I just finished "Gone-Away World" by Nick Harkaway, a gripping and thoroughly strange and beautiful book I commend to you. It's a long book, 498 pages, and it seems meandering, but the meandering is okay, more than okay, because the writing is so good and entertaining. It wasn't until the last chapter or so that I realized there was no meandering at all; it was all fitting together like clockwork. Bits of beautiful writing seeming like entertaining throwaways were foreshadowing, foreshadowing done more skillfully than one would imagine.

The afterword reveals that Harkaway is a huge Wodehouse fan, and that makes sense. He writes with humor and whimsy, but he wrote a book which is not humorous and not whimsical, really. It's action-filled and serious, but written with a deft, light hand. I just love this book, filled with delights like this description of a crowded strip bar, "From somewhere across the room comes the sound of a mime getting beaten up" and the following throw-away line, "Baptiste Vasille shrugs. It's very much a French shrug. It says Well, what did you expect?' and it says it in a way which suggests the world is essentially English, and hence a bit awkward and silly."

I love this book so much that I want to buy it, having borrowed the copy I used from the wonderful Mechanics' Institute. Bonus: the jacket is hot pink and fuzzy. In bookstores Lucy loves to seek out "The Gone-Away World" and reverently stroke it.

3 comments:

kaila said...

Ooooh!! I have been needing a new book and now I know what to get. Thanks for the tip!

Alan said...

It's probably cat fur. I think I've seen pink cats.

hughman said...

wodehouse? like p.g. wodehouse? i've read every single jeeves book,