Friday, August 7, 2015

Love the Authors, A Little Dissatisfied with Some of Their Books

I suddenly saw a pattern in four books I read very recently. What they have in common is: 1. They are all paperback books I picked up while browsing at my local Friends of the Library sale a few weeks ago. 2. In each case, I chose to buy the book because it was by a writer I very much admire and like. 3. I found them all perfectly fine, well written, but for some reason I didn’t look forward to reading them, and found them not quite satisfying. I am not sure why this latter is so. Are they all lesser examples of their authors’ work? In three of the four cases, they are earlier works of the authors; could that be the reason? Maybe it is just a coincidence, or maybe the issue is me, not the books (but why? how?). Whatever the reason, I don’t feel strongly enough -- positively or negatively -- about any of the books to post about them individually. I will simply list the books here, and say again that they are all just fine, but I just couldn’t get very excited about any of them. They are: 1. “After the War,” by Alice Adams (Washington Square, 2000); Kaaterskill Falls,” by Allegra Goodman (Delta, 1998); “As Max Saw It,” by Louis Begley (Fawcett Columbine, 1994); and “Our Fathers,” by Andrew O’Hagan (Harvest, 1999).
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