Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More on Tessa Hadley

Yesterday (7/12/11) I wrote about Tessa Hadley’s new novel, “The London Train.” In the back of that novel there are interesting and revealing essays by the author about herself and about the writing of the book; I really appreciate the inclusion of these essays. There is also an annotated list titled “Author’s Picks: Favorite Books.” My pulse always quickens when I see such a list; I am immediately curious to know which books the author cherishes and recommends, whether I have read them, whether they are among my own favorites, and/or whether I need to put them on my “to read” list. This particular list is short (10 titles) but wonderful, including some of my favorites: Elizabeth Bowen’s “The Death of the Heart,” Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea,” Alice Munro’s “The Love of a Good Woman,” Henry James’ “The Golden Bowl,” Colm Toibin’s “The Master," and Rumer Godden’s “Kingfishers Catch Fire.” I am also inspired to consider reading the other books on her list: Jorge Luis Borges’ “Selected Fiction,” J. M. Coetzee’s “Boyhood,” Aharaon Appelfeld’s “To the Land of the Cattails,” and -- especially -- Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus.” I have read others of Mann’s works -- “The Magic Mountain” still exists vividly in my mind these many years after reading it -- but not this one.

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