Saturday, May 09, 2020

Lockdown fiction

I think I've only read two fiction books this year. Both have been magnificent and now that I've finished my thesis, I am hungry for more.

My mate Michael Finnigan recommended A Gentleman in Moscow, and it was the perfect preparation for lockdown. The tale of how Count Alexander Rostov spent his time under house arrest in the gilded gulag of Moscow's Metropole Hotel from 1921. The writing is sublime. There are times when you have to put the book down, pause, read a passage again and just luxuriate in it.

The other was the latest triumph from my old favourite John Niven - The F*ck it List. Set in a totally believable future of the first term of the Ivanka Trump presidency it bubbles with quiet liberal outrage at the lunacy and destruction we are (still) tip toeing into. Vivid and splenetic, as I've come to love about Niven's writing, but also crisp and emotional too. A real tribute to the central character, Frank Brill, a former newspaper man with a terminal cancer diagnosis, directing his rage and denying himself an ounce of self-pity.

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