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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Killing Time With Novels

The mass market crime novel I bought for the flight home from West Palm is awful, dull, plodding, the only reason I keep picking it up because its compactness feels good in hand, but it really is intolerable, the main character a hard guy detective hunting for a killer (amazing originality!), I should just drop it in a trash receptacle somewhere; now Magnus Mills is another story, his novel The Restraint of Beasts I picked up a couple of years ago at Rodney's because I was in the M section looking for a Henry Miller novel (having slightly enjoyed Plexus, or Nexus, one of the two) but there wasn't one and instead I noticed the Mills book, pulled it off the shelf, found the cover art interesting, looked at the back cover and Surprise! there was a puff quote from Thomas Pynchon, so I checked the typeface (can't stand books with a spindly typeface, that bothered me all the way through Bernhard's Extinction), found it to be okay, read a biographical note at the front of the book saying Mills was a London bus driver, and so, mainly because of the Pynchon endorsement, and because I had nothing else to do, I bought it, and more or less enjoyed reading it--I remember one incident that actually made me laugh aloud, or almost aloud--but the book had an unsightly vignette, or illustration, that appeared over and over and grated each time I came across it, this after reading For Whom the Bell Tolls which I found lying around the house, which didn't do much for me, I just kept reading because I had nothing else to do.

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