Monday, October 10, 2011
Driving to San Antonio
On the way up, I finished listening to/reading This Book Will Save Your Life, by A.M. Homes, a literary novel I really enjoyed right up until its rather ambiguous ending. Maybe its just me, but I absolutely hate endings that leave the main character in physical jeopardy right through the book's final sentence. Why do I have to decide if the character lived or died? What point is the author trying to make by ending a book this way? Is it as pretentious a device as I always feel that it is? Fair or not, I will be hard pressed to rate this one higher than a 3 when it had a very solid four right up to its last paragraph.
I also listened to a two-hour audio version of Stephen King's Ur, a 2009 King novella written for the exclusive use of Kindle owners. While the thing does at times sound more like a Kindle commercial than a piece of fiction, I had a great time imagining what it would be like to actually own something like the special pink Kindle the story's young professor received. That pink gizmo allows the prof to check out over 10 million alternate universes in which all the great writers in our world might very well have continued to write long after we thought they were dead. Imagine any of your favorite authors, but especially those whose lifetime of work you finished reading long ago. Now, imagine a device that gives access to dozens of new novels those same authors wrote in alternate universes - because they lived longer in those, or perhaps started writing earlier, etc.
What would you pay for that? Could you resist doing nothing but reading for the rest of your life? It's a great idea, and I wish that King had stayed with that one plot line. Unfortunately, he didn't, and the rest of the story is a lot more humdrum and predictable. Oh well; it was still a fun way to kill almost exactly half of my drive time to San Antonio.