39 Following

Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbø, Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett This is my second Harry Hole novel--I began with the most recent, The Snowman, receiving ecstatic reviews, and then jumped back to the earliest in the chronology (available in the States, anyway). Both books were enormously entertaining, right up until somewhat too-pat endings, not quite weak but weaker than the stronger set-ups.

Weaknesses first: in the last 50 pages of both novels, Nesbo moves from puzzle-building to spectacle; Hole runs around, villains create some last nefarious exercise, exposition is carefully, comprehensively spelled out. In many other writer's hands (I'm looking at you, Deaver), such an ending is a bit of generic OCD precision: the novels are clockwork magic tricks, and the conclusion allows the magician a chance to reveal all. Cleverness above all else.

What's a little--and just a very little--frustrating here is that Nesbo has so many other strengths. Hole, and the other characters, are idiosyncratically elaborate in their quirks, histories, personal demons. There is a sly sense of humor they all display, but even better Nesbo too deploys a wit in descriptions and structure that is superlative. And the first 90% of these novels are glorious fractal patterns--images and narrative fragments which keep returning, revealing more and more as you proceed.

Basically, I loved both of these novels until an end which I merely enjoyed. I'll be reading more. I haven't hit one that quite ranks with Rankin or Mankell yet, but these are very good procedurals.