Posted by: Corri van de Stege | November 2, 2008

The Sunday Salon – suspension I guess

Plenty to read in this Sunday Salon, from newspapers, to novels, plays, and (creative writing) coursebook.  In addition, there’s the writing, the blog, a page for a play (an exercise only, nothing more serious than that), and maybe even a book review.  Starting with the writing and some of the reading:

Following on from yesterday, today’s papers continue with their observations and analyses of the Obama – McCain campaigns and the nailbiting suspense until we know the outcome.  I am  fascinated by the views of writers in particular on the Bush years and The Observer has another look at the legacy: That’s all Folks.  Tobias Wolff, Edmund White, Yiyun Li, Waler Mosley, Rick Moody, Siri Hustvedt Aleksandar Hemon, Uzodinma Iweala all give their verdict, best summed up perhaps by the Iweala: ”In two [days] this eight-year journey under the guidance of President Bush through the valleys of medicrity will either come to an end with Barak Obama or continue for another four, perhaps even eight years with John McCain.  On 7 November 2000 I could claim I was naive.  On 4 November 2008, there can be no excuse.’

At the same time, a number of books are being published and I’ve put my order in for one of them: Toni Morrison’s A Merci, which has had excellent reviews and if you want to listen to her speaking to Kirsty Wark, then follow this link to the Newsnight Programme.  This is a round table discussion on arts and culture and this particular one also discussed Oliver Stone’s latest film W.  A Merci is about the making of modern America and is about a notion of slavery that is much wider than that of white enslaving black.  Morrison says ‘Rebecca, the white woman [in the book], was also kind of enslaved,bough to marry the Dutchman.  In those days people sold anybody…’ It is a book about pressures on women in general and about the brutality of life for everyone. 

Another book that caught my attention is the new Margaret Atwood: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth.  This is not a novel, more an essay, described by William Skidelsky as ‘an intellectual history of debt’.  Although not quite the novel I am waiting for (remember my post a couple of weeks ago), there is now a real focus on books that relate to finance, debt, etc.  Amongst the list of literary debtors listed alongside this review is Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit, and I am greatly enjoying the tv adaptation currently being shown.  As Kathryn Flett’s review of this notes ‘And what a smashing Dickens it is….’  – much better than reading the book, I agree (not having been born and bread in an English country, I never got to read Dickens as a child and am not a great fan).   The visuals in the tv adaptation are wonderful in brown and more brown and more shades of brown and Tom Courtenay as William Dorrit is fantastic. 

Yes, lots to read and watch and work with. 

I’ve finished John Berger’s G, but must admit that I started skipping pages towards the end as I became more and more restless with the mixture of literary essayist approach in large chunks of the book and the tortuous life journey of G, a philanderer who, for me at least, never quite comes to life.  Perhaps I’ll have a go at a more in-depth review but there are now so many other things to do and read! 

Enjoy your Sunday reading – and it’ll soon be Tuesday.


  1. I need to read Morrison. And I love Atwood.

    Darcys, Bingleys, gang wars and a dog too

    SS 2: Ariel by Sylvia Plath

  2. The Morrison sounds very good! I’m putting it on my list.

  3. I like the sound of the Bush legacy book. I can’t believe the anxiety of waiting for the outcome of the US election is almost over (but the last 24 hours of waiting are the worst). Thanks for the recommendations as always.

  4. I have an ARC for A mercy, which I haven’t had a chance to read yet. I was planning to read it before the election. Oh well…

  5. gautami: yes you do 🙂
    ex libris: yes do, I’ve just got received it.
    Pete: you’re right about the last 24 hours – have just come in from a long day in London and I am just glued to the news…. but it’s only midday your end and I think I’m just going to have to go to bed and wake up tomorrow and find out.
    Matthew: Yes, I meant to do the same, it has just arrived, no way I can finish it before tomorrow morning (London time) 🙂

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