I’m conflicted by Michel Houellebecq’s “The Possibility of an Island” and I’ll try and work that out after the jump.
Read the first two books in “The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel.” Really wonderful, minimalist prose. She doesn’t bend language quite as far as Christine Schutt, but she has more of an emphasis on point of view and some well executed metafiction elements in there.
My wife finished “A Queer and Pleasant Danger,” a transgendered ex-scientology memoir, and the story was too interesting not to read. The author, Kate Bornstein, does a fine job in laying out their narrative — it’s mostly told in a linear fashion, with just a few flashbacks and forwards to fill in the blanks. However, the post-scientology section of the book felt more like a whole book in itself. The level of detail dropped and there were fewer full scenes and more explanation. It may have also worked to structure the book into only two sections (pre and post scientology), but given the number of transitions ze goes through in the book, that may have rung false. A binary structure probably wouldn’t suit this book.
Finished the first book in Vladimir Sorokin’s “Ice Trilogy.” Beautiful, but cryptic. Felt like if I knew more about Russian history more of it would have made sense. Still, expert use of voice and repetition.