Harvest Time for Literary Fiction

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Orfeo has been on my shelf since it came out and I still haven’t gotten to it. Love Powers.

    The new Mitchell is on my wish list.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Well, I now know what I’m doing this winter.Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    If I remember correctly, you are one of the folks around here who loved Wolf Hall. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is out this week.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Yes, and yes! That was the book new Mantel book I was referring to. My local bookstore should be holding a copy for me on the 25th.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ah, I somehow missed the Mantel reference at the very end, despite looking up the Martin Amis book based on reading his name. Ugh, I cannot multi-task.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @chris – did you start Echopraxia yet? I’m stalled out a little over halfway in, and am still waiting for the plot to kick in…it’s also doing a little bit too much of that thing where it doesn’t fully spell out what is happening or why or the background behind certain things. Trusting your audience is great, leaving some things mysterious and some un-illuminated corners to your universe is fine, but I think this may be pushing it a little too far.

        Then again, these books are set right around the cusp of the Singularity, so maybe the intention is to show that nobody knows exactly what the hell is going on anymore; it’s all speculation and paranoia. The only thing you can be sure of is that they’re probably all out to get you.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I haven’t started it, mostly because I’m behind on my list as it is. I should be able to start it some time next month.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Good write up Tod.

    I think most literary fiction is released around the end of summer and start of fall for historical reasons. This is the start of “the Season” when rich people came back from their summer homes and travels and settled back to the city (usually New York or London). This when they would flock the theatres, operas, etc in search of entertainment. Just like the school calendar still revolves around the idea that we are still a farming nation, the culture calendar revolves around the idea of when and where the elites presided. So this is still the time when the “serious” stuff gets released and theatres start up again and even Hollywood releases their award contenders. This is slowly changing but not as much as one might think.

    I am a huge admirer of Murakami but understand what you mean. I love A Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Dance Dance Dance. Some of his other books propel me forward even if they are problematic and sometimes banal in prose and Colorless Tzusuki was one of these. Same with 1Q84Report

  5. Avatar trizzlor says:

    I’m really excited about the new Mitchell. I thought that Cloud Atlas was unbelievably creative but also quite profound, whereas de Zoet was mostly the former. de Zoet does an amazing job of immersing you into that specific time and place, and has some fun meta-fiction elements as the reader is initially overwhelmed but slowly comes to understand local terminology and culture together with the main character. But at the end of the day I felt it was mostly a rollicking adventure and not much else. Are you getting a sense of where The Bone Clocks falls on that spectrum?

    Personally, I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Good Lord Bird (which was the ToB winner for last year) and is another exciting adventure story with some very incisive (and painful) commentary on well-meaning liberators ignoring the protests of those they are liberating. And while we’re at it, I’m still shouting out The Orphan Master’s Son, which continues to be the best lit-fic novel I’ve read in the past few years.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Oh one last thing, has anyone dipped into ’10:04 : a Novel’ by Ben Lerner. I’ve seen rapturous praise for it from the press but no flesh-and-blood person who’s actually read or heard of it, which always leaves me suspicious.Report

  7. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Anybody else reading the My Struggle series by Karl Ove Knausgaard? I think 3 of 6 have been translated.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Wow, you and I have vastly different tastes in books…
    The last McEwan I read was Saturday, and that was so bad that I could not believe that the person who wrote Atonement could pen something that bad. So bad that I gave up on him, period.
    The Murakami is next on my list, as soon as I finish the new Elroy, but I am mystified how someone could not love Wild Sheep Chase.
    You liked Cloud Atlas? Really? That (and Wolf Hall) was one of the worst, most trite books I have read in years. After the promise of Ghost Written I had high hopes for Mitchell, but I found that to be one of the most over written, obvious books in a long time. I had no prior hopes for Mantel, and now no interest.
    At this point I have been mostly reading the big English authors, Waugh, Conrad, Maughm and Greene with a little Ford thrown in for good measure. I can only think of two really well writen books that have come out this century, books that I feel that I need to have a copy on the shelf at home. Atonement and No Country for Old Men.Report