Sunday, December 12, 2004

Not So Astonishing, But Solid

I have finished McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, and while I think it was good (and sure, worth the $13.95 it cost), it wasn't all that astonishing in the long run.

When I read Stephen King's Lisey and the Madman, I got this whole eerie feeling, like, whoa boy, I'm in for it now, but then after that, it never quite delivered, even though Poppy Z. Brite was still to come.

Her story, The Devil of Delery Street, was good, and had a split second of scariness, but then kind of faded out for me. (Maybe I couldn't have handled it if it had gotten any more scary, but anyway.) The Miniaturist, by Heidi Julavits, was very well written and a good read, with some chills, but I sort of felt like I knew where it was going which gave me an inward groan.

Delmonico, by Daniel Handler, was solid, I thought, although perhaps most interesting was the fact that he is allegedly Lemony Snicket.

One of my favorite stories was Vivian Relf, by Jonathan Lethem. It was only a little bit odd, but made one think of the synchronicities of life. Maybe everybody's in your life for a reason -- but what if you don't realize how important until too late?

Creepy and disturbing was Jason Roberts' 7C and Roddy Doyle's The Child. Another creepy one: Minnow by Ayelet Waldman. I enjoyed The Scheme of Things, by Charles D'Ambrosio, very much.

So okay, perhaps it wasn't as unrelentingly creepy, mind-blowing, or "astonishing" as I thought it would be. There is a tinge of disappointment for some reason, I guess I was sort of expecting stuff that would keep me up all night. But, if you're looking for a nice stocking stuffer or some good reading for long winter nights, it's a pretty solid choice.

I've started in on Dhalgren by Samuel Delany, which Hebdomeros recommended, and it's a long book but so far, very impressive and I feel like through it, I will somehow transcend a lot of the usual tenents of fiction, which is very exciting. So, it might be a while before I comment on new reading!

Hope you've all had great weekends!



Blogger Hebdomeros said...

Daniel Handler is Snicket. I heard him on an interview on NPR a couple of weekends ago. He was a great interview. He talked about how his work before the Snickets was all real dark horror and some "adult themed" titles, and how strange it is to be making most of his money of off kid's books now.

Astonishing sounds fun. I'll have to add it to my list. Hope you like Dhalgren. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's up there as one of my favorites. It amazes me how often I trip over some random author like JC Oates who cites it as a favorite.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

AAAHHH! You have Lemony Snicket ads littering the bottom of your entry. Sorry you didn't get to go on your trip.

3:23 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Ah yes, I do see a whole lot of Snicket advertising, ha. Hmm... so is he sort of like Edward Gorey? That was the impression I got but I'm not so well versed. It does seem a strange turn of events for him.

And so far, I'm totally addicted to Dhalgren. I mean really. Like addicted. It's pretty mind blowing and I have been having a very, very hard time putting it down. I'm about 200 pages in...

1:54 AM  

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