Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Wedding in December

Just finished another Anita Shreve book as a respite from all the weighty prose I've been wading through. People sometimes rag on Shreve because she's a popular writer (As we know, Egalitarian Bookworms pooh-pooh that sort of thing) and easily readable, but I find her books to be a pleasant and absorbing experience. They feel like they're happening to you... you're effortlessly gliding through a new world with its inevitable catastrophes (Shreve loves the haunting presence of sudden, tragic deaths from the past as much as Virginia Woolf loves run-on sentences) and passionate relationships that are often either rebounds from those tragic losses or infidelities with difficult consequences. She handles both these topics with painful, beautiful, understanding.

This book in particular is about a group of high school friends, who lost their most popular and charismatic member in a horrifying accident just before graduation. They come back together after 30 years for the wedding of two of their friends-- one of whom is suffering from cancer. If it sounds thoroughly depressing, Shreve keeps it from being so.
She does a lovely job of giving us sympathy for all the right characters and leaving the perspective of the really obnoxious ones to our own imagination. The New England scenery that her pen loves so much-- particularly that rocky Maine coast, and the deep woods and hills of the snowy Berkshires and White Mountains, is as stark and appropriate a background as ever. A Shreve novel is always a wonderful diversion and a gentle but thorough excursion into heady emotional territory. I just sometimes wish that her novels were even longer and meatier so that I can stay with them for as long a time as possible. concusion, don't hate on Shreve, cause Anita. A-really-nita. And so do you.

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