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Next Novel, Please

I sat down last night and finished the last hundred pages of the fiction which made me fractious. Truth be told, I skimmed a lot towards the end just to see what happened, and while there are some interesting explorations of memory loss (blocking vs. Alzheimer's), he never explored nor explained why the protagonist had no recollection of the cottage where the majority of the book is set. It makes no sense to me. Surely there must have been some bigger trauma than realizing his mom was banging his uncle (by marriage, not blood) to make him totally block an entire summer's memory??

And we move on.

So I read the first chapter (story) of A View from Castle Rock. It's lovely and beautifully concise but not really a novel, so I'll dip in and out of that. And I read the first dozen pages of this year's Pulitzer winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I'll definitely go back to at some point over the summer. It seems compelling, but perhaps a requires a bit more work than I want to put into a book after slogging through last week's upper middle-class melodrama.

Which leads us to the question of what's next on my impromptu reading list. How about Stephen McCauley's Alternatives to Sex? It's light, it's witty, it seems to be chock-full of entertaining neurotics, and it's set not far from Cape Cod -- arguably the American equivalent of Cornwall. A perfect counterpoint to the last book.

Most importantly, after breezing through thirty pages this morning, I'm looking forward to spending more time with these characters to see who says what and find out what happens next.

Maybe that's the simplest key to understanding if fiction works ... does the reader want to know what happens next?