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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Book #34 on my reading list this year was Mary Gaitskill's Veronica.

Although I didn't find the plot of Gaitskill's novel super compelling, her writing style is pure beauty. A blurb on the back of the book posits that 'People write their whole lives in the hopes of coming up with just one sentence that rises to the level of this book'. That may be a bit of hyperbole, but it's surprisingly plausible. Composed of raw, succinct sentences that ooze with emotion Veronica often reads like great poetry. Every couple of pages or so I found myself going back and re-reading paragraphs that were just too good to read once.

The book was nominated as a 2005 National Book Award Finalist, which apparently has made it somewhat popular with the peeps. On our trip to Austin I was astonished to see it for sale in one of those little magazine kiosks in the airport. It's been awhile since I've seen a modern fiction book I was reading on sale at an airport. For all I know it was probably an Oprah's Book Club selection too. Sigh. Indie cred fading, fading, gone. Anywho, most likely due to the book's popularity there's no shortage of online reviews, discussions, etc. on the internets. You can find several reviews here and Slate's alway excellent review here.

Bonus points to Gaitskill for having the most hard core author headshot I've ever seen.

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