Dear Winternet, I have been remiss in letting you know what we’ve been up to at the Mudd Up Book Clubb. Back in June, we read Iris Murdoch‘s first novel, Under The Net (1954). I stumbled across this at the impossible bookshop, and picked it up on the strength of its first page (“I find it hard to explain to people about Finn. He isn’t exactly my servant. He seems often more like my manager. Sometimes I support him, and sometimes he supports me; it depends. It’s somehow clear that we aren’t equals”).
I knew nothing about Iris Murdoch and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy it — brain smart & emotionally smart, subtle funny & slapstick funny, somewhere quite poised between gay tragedy and straight coming of age &/or the moral of the story might simply be that cats & dogs make us better humans (debatable, i know), buzzing with impressively etched characters who appear only to careen out of the storyline. A perfect summer book, very different in tone from her more familiar output — Murdoch wrote 26 novels, poetry, plays, and several works of philosophy…
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& in early September, we’re meeting to read The Uncomfortable Dead (what’s missing is missing), by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcomandante Marcos. A leftist/absurdist political noir novel set in contemporary Mexico with Subcomandante Marcos putting in extra-meta humor/mindfvck.
Taibo is a brilliant historian (his Che biography is a best-seller), and this forms part of Taibo’s Hector BelascoarÃ¡n Shayne ‘independent investigator’ series. Great stuff. The authors alternate chapters. Thanks to T-Kay & Carolina for the Taibo heads up! This summer I’ve read half a dozen books by him (currently on Adios, Madrid en espanol – the NYPL stocks a lot of Taibo in the original Spanish).
Paco Ignacio Taibo II & Subcomandante Marcos, The Uncomfortable Dead
Iris Murdoch, Under The Net
Thomas Bernhard, The Loser & Gay Talese, “The Loser”
Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity
Shelley Jackson, “A Report on Certain Curious Objects, Believed to Be Words in an Unknown Language of the Dead”
Rita Indiana Hernandez, Papi
G. Willow Wilson, Alif, The UnseenMichal Ajvaz, The Other City
Carmen Laforet, Nada
Patrik OuÅ™ednÃk, Europeana
Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber
Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum
Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx
Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor
Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy
Lauren Beukes, Zoo City
Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere
Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun
Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis