Thursday, December 4, 2008

Africa and Androgyny

After finishing On Chesil Beach, a novel that didn't live up to Ian McEwan's other work, I found myself reluctant to pick up another novel right away. So I've been reading stories, dividing time between Sam the Cat by Matthew Klam and Cold Snap by Thom Jones. The first stories in collections are often the biggest hits, and I especially enjoyed the title story in the Klam collection, about a sort of hapless womanizer who falls for a slightly androgynous man, to his own great confusion. I like it when putatively straight writers venture into gay territory, but so often they stumble on this rocky ground. Klam's story worked though. The guy became more sympathetic, though not likeable, in his obviously doomed quest.
For even more testosterone driven prose, I turned to Thom Jones. My favorite story so far is "Way Down in the Jungle," a trip into the mind of a deeply cynical doctor in a missionary setting in Africa. Again not a particularly likeable character, but one who takes you on a trip toward the outer edges of compassion. I tend to root for the bad guys in literature (as I did for wrestling villains when I watched pro wrestling in my youth). They tend to have a bigger stage presence than characters who are too goody goody. Anyway, enough for now. I feel I've been remiss in not blogging more often, so I just thought I'd jot down a few late night thoughts.

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