Oh...it's you. So I guess you want to know about the seventeen best books I read in 2012, is that it? The absolute nerve of you. I don't, I can't even, how do you...okay fine. Here it is, below, the list. As always, while I do actually include on this list one novel that was published in 2012, most of these books were published whenever the fuck, and I just happened to read them over the past twelve months. Convention is no mistress of mine. Plus, there's really not much going on here by way of ranking, until you get to the last couple, which are close to being tied as my favorite novel of the year. Anyway, this is shaping up to take me a while (you'll no doubt breeze right through) so I'd best get started.
this throwaway post earlier in the year, when I hadn't even finished reading it. So I don't even really know why I just linked to it now, but anyway Hadayet's most famous work is the kind of thing that people should be reserving the phrase "fever dream" to describe, instead of pasting it to something Fight Club that just acts like it's crazy. The Blind Owl really is, though, morbidly so. It's a novel about a man who has quite possibly committed murder -- but who really knows for sure? -- and whose mind and life has transformed into a phantasmagoria as a result. Hadayet's life ended in a suicide. In The Blind Owl he writes that "it is death that beckons us from the depths of life." Most other fiction seems pitifully fraudulent in comparison.
Tim Lucas that the novel also exists in another form, the one Leroux reportedly preferred, that bears the less interesting title The Double Life, but which, according to Tim, expands on the Catacombs sequence to jaw-dropping effect. I'm gonna read that version too, one day.
here. You can go read that, if you'd like.
this post about Crisp's novella "Ynys-y-Plag," and in all honesty it's hard to know, in the space I'm providing myself here, what else I can add. But I don't think I mentioned that at it's heart, this novel is about the sometimes, for some, unbearable cruelty of childhood, which in this case is exaggerated to a grotesque horror parable of sorts, or experiment, or conspiracy theory, and how that cruelty can transform a child into a hopelessly unhappy adult. It's about a schoolteacher who takes a job at a school where he learns that child abuse of an especially horrifying sort is not just institutionalized, but the grease that keeps the wheels turning. And I'm not even sure that's right. I am sure that it's a terrible oversimplification of Crisp's indescribable first novel. I don't know what it is, exactly. That is a recommendation.
here, one of the major differences being one of genre. Which is not meant to imply that The Vet's Daughter is some piece of kitchen-sink realism -- it is, in fact, quite strange, even fantastical, though in this case that element doesn't manifest itself as supernatural horror, but as pure fantasy. It's just that the outcome is horrific. It's about a terrible father and his terrible lack of heart and the terrible ways this affects his daughter. I believe that's the novel in a nutshell. It's short, otherworldly, great, and painful. In other news, I should probably try to lighten up.
here, where I said: "[The Go-Between is] one of the finest novels of any kind I've read this year. It's about a twelve-year-old boy, whose middle-aged self is narrating the events, and the summer he spent at the impressive country home among the family of one of his school friends, falls in love with his friend's older sister, who, along with her lover, use the boy as a pawn/messenger to facilitate their affair. This is ultimately disastrous, and while the sister (who is engaged to a viscount) and her lover (a farmer who lives nearby) do have a great deal of affection for the boy, but they're also selfish and a bit stupid. As is the boy, seeing as he's twelve. Anyway, it's a wonderful, suspenseful, funny, devastating novel, superbly controlled and about as sharp about childhood emotions, and childhood in general, as anything I've read outside of Dickens." I do not hesitate to stand by that. It's one of those novels you sometimes read that makes you want to do nothing more with your life than read, one book after another, until it's lights out. Not a bad way to go.