The opening round of the Tournament is shaping up, by which I mean the Tournament of Books, an annual knockdown drag out round robin of meanness that I enjoy more than damn near anything. Bloggers and standouts advocate until one book is left standing, and it's great fun if you're the sort who likes a good litbrawl.
In the first tilt, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made short work of Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan.
I read both books and there's no surprises here. Absurdistan was fun in spots and Shteyngart is a good writer, occasionally very good; but Half of a Yellow Sun is going to be tough to knock off anyway, it's certainly a stronger book than Absurdistan.
Today's bout was reffed by Brady Udall, whose gone a few rounds himself and knows a thing or two. (Miracle Life of Edgar Mint was a beauty of a novel).
Here's his take on things.
The second match in Round One is a tougher call, but I agree with it as well. I loved
Emperors Children, read it in two sittings. The nonsense about self-absorbed New Yorkers making for tedious reading was bunk and it showed up in the summary here, too.
That sort of junk rears it's head up here, too. I could give a damn if a book is set in Toronto, if it's a good book. I generally have a tougher time with Maritime fiction, but that's just a preference. To read some commentary in Canada though, it seems automatic that a book set in Toronto is going to be populated by shallow idiots. That's true of some stuff in Nova Scotia too, and it makes for some atrocious plotting.
Now, back to business.
I really respected Echo Maker and it's a great book. I've never read any other Richard Powers, but I'll keep up with him now, but Clare Messud deserves the TKO here.
Good sound bite from the commentary here though:
"I’m so tired of books (and movies) about lonely, dissatisfied Manhattan intellectuals that when I actually meet one in person I generally taser him in the scrotum. Which is not really fair to the intellectual."
Heh, heh. Scrotum.
More bloodshed as it develops.
Posted by Dave