Since the summer of 2010, I have promised myself that I will read Hermann Broch’s modernist classic, Death of Virgil, a gorgeously-written stream-of-consciousness narrative about the last hours of Virgil’s life at Brundisium.
Oh, greatness of human diversity, amplitude of human yearning! And floating in his awareness, floatingly borne aloft over the shouting heads, floatingly borne aloft over the festival fires of uproarious Brundisium, floating, held high in the undulant movement of the present, he experienced the boundless contraction of…
I’ve given this four tries. Starting over yet again from the beginning is pointless–I have already done that–so I plan simply to read on. Summary so far: 1. Virgil is sick. 2. He is carried off the ship. (Nothing happens.)
There are also the Review Copies on the Porch. I no longer accept review copies (I have a backlog of books, people! and few of them are new), but I weeded the box on the porch and found three to read this summer (two from 2012).
1. Mary Rickert’s The Memory Garden (2014). The publicist compared this to Alice Hoffman’s Museum of Extraordinary Things, one of my favorite books this year. According to the press release, “16-year-old Bay Singer never believed the local rumors that her mother, Nan, is a witch. But when two of Nan’s friends from the past appear at the door, their reunion summons haunting memories: of an oath the three women took years ago, a secret they promised to protect, and the small town whose distrust has already ruined more than one life.” By the way, the author is a Nebula Award nominee and a multiple World Fantasy Award winner for short fiction.
3. Adam McComber’s The White Forest (2012). Another fantasy novel. According to the press release, “Jane Silverlake is a lonely young woman with a strange, inexplicable gift–ever since her mother’s mysterious death she has been able to hear the souls of man-made objects. The frightening sounds from the artifacts in her father’s crumbling estate…plague her constantly, but she finds solace in the peaceful silence she hears from nature.”
I hope I’ll enjoy one or two or all of these. We’ll see.