I continue to ignore the reading list I set for myself this year. Classics! Who needs them? Here’s what I read instead.
41. Olive Kitteredge– Elizabeth Strout
42. The Angel’s Game– Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Angel’s Game is Zafón’s second novel. I hate to say it, but I liked the first one better. If you liked Shadow of the Wind (and who did not, who read it?), you’ll also like this one. It has some of the same elements, the same tone, and, without checking, perhaps even some of the same characters. The protagonist is a writer who gets talked into writing something no one should write, and there’s all kinds of intrigue and narrow escapes but it’s really about books. It’s also a great deal about writers and the doubt that comes with writing. Like a little gothic in your fiction? This one is fun.
But I liked Olive Kitteredge even better. Oh, Olive. I do love this character so much, even and especially perhaps when she gets it so wrong. That’s what Olive does. She gets it wrong. This book is a set of linked stories about a small community in Maine. Olive flits in and out of every story, sometimes playing a major role and sometimes passing by, briefly noted by the other characters. If you’re a writer interested in doing a set of linked stories, this is a must-read. It won the Pulitzer, people. It’s a book of short stories (shhh! The cover just says “Fiction.”) and it won a major award. It’s about a retired schoolteacher and a small town and a bunch of people who don’t live up to their potential, but it won the Pulitzer. It’s ENJOYABLE and it won the Pulitzer. Read this book.