Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fear not the kiddie pool, it is chlorinated

I finished reading "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell this afternoon. The Sparrow, written non-linearly, reads like a crescendo. At first, I guess, I couldn't hear it; I was actually pretty annoyed at the back-and-forth, past-future shenanigans Russell employed to tell the tale. But it wasn't long before it got loud enough to get me grooving, and, unlike a lot of books, it was something that actually gripped me--by way of intensifying intensification, a literary analogue of that open-mouthed notation of the literal crescendo--all the way through to the end.

It's a good book. You should probably read it. But it's also pretty deep. The Sparrow is about a bunch of Jesuits mounting a mission to an alien planet. The mission consequently goes wrong, and the protagonist is subjected to an examination of his faith in God.

It's books like this that make me feel awful about my own pulpish literary style. At best, I deal in the absurd; at worst, in the superficial. It probably doesn't help that I read a great interview with William Gibson immediately thereafter, compounding my sense of shallowness.

Quick! Someone throw some paperbacks at me. Or some pre-millenial issues of Weird Tales! My literary unpretension is falling apart...



  1. My belief is that, much like orange juice, big ideas are a lot more palatable when you have them with pulp.