:::this is the way the world ends:::

A Book from 2007

Dream Life of Sukhanov I’m wondering why I am posting this, but for some reason feel compelled. Since I have been on the couch or in bed lately, I managed to read a bit.

I just finished The Dream Life of Shukhanov by Olga Grushin. It was a terribly engaging book that takes place in real time over three or four days, but covers in flashbacks much of the life of a Soviet artist/critic. There are several narrative techniques that are interesting, such as the way the book flows from third person narration to first. But I guess the most valuable part of the book to me was what it said about living with the choices we make, the life we live, and the art we do and don’t make. It reminded me a bit of Ishiguro’s novels in that it begins to blur the main character Sukhanov’s past with his present in an effort to reconcile the two lives he has led in a manner that is almost surreal.

7 Comments

  1. Shotts

    Thanks for the recommendation, Ned. Sounds like a very good book.

    I hope you’re feeling better…

  2. J.E.

    Wow — sounds great. Especially the paths taken and ignored. Sounds like my sort of thing.

  3. Tobias

    Ned, there’s a long list of books that you’ve recommended to me and I have yet to catch up on. Actually, a lot of books everyone here on the blog have recommended. I’ll do my best to catch up.

    It’s interesting, I feel like I’ve really re-entered a stage in my life where reading is vital for my well-being. I read because I can’t imagine not reading. When I was finished with college and my English degree, I felt a little burnt out. I never completely stopped reading, but only could chalk up a few books each year. Now I probably get to that many books in a month. Have any of the other HM had Reader’s Block?

    Actually, it may be somewhat controversial, but I think I rediscovered my love of reading because of J.K. Rowling. Which, in turn, led to a grand rediscovery of the library. I love the library, and I love the internet tools we have now that put the world’s book closer to me.

    Enough rambling for now….

  4. Ned

    I love the library too. Eliot and I had been making weekly visits for some time now, but have missed a few during this Artic freeze we’ve been having. Besides, all Eliot wants to read right now is Peter Pan and we have a lovely version with illustrations by Scott Gustafson. It’s fun for me to get into longer stories like Pan and Wind and the Willows. I actually had Eliot refusing to go to bed the other night until I read one more chapter of Pan. I was exhausted because of my involvement in bring Guy Billout (a great French/American illustrator of Atlantic and New Yorker reknown) to the U here. But evertime I started to get sleepy, Eliot cried, Dad, you’re not doing the voices right.

  5. Pete

    I, too, have had the reader’s block you describe, Tober. Mine lasts sometimes for years at a time. I, too, have been pulled back to reading for enjoyment because of the Harry Potter books. I have a lot to thank Rawling for. I still feel a need, and a love, to read for knowlege that helps me with my job. Sometimes this is the root of the block you speak of. As I get overwhelmed at work I look for more visceral release, or avoid related material altogether. I would like to read more for pleasure again. Perhaps, I will look at reading ther Narnia books since the movies are starting to take shape. thoughts?

  6. Ned

    Sara and I turned on the end of the Superbowl last night while we did some tax work (it was actually a suspenseful game). They had a trailer for the new Narnia and it looked pretty spectacular. I don’t know how closely they are following the books, but I’m more excited about that movie than Inadiana Jones or Batman at this point.

  7. Shotts

    Interesting to hear all of this. I haven’t had reader’s block, per se, since I would probably lose my job if that happened. But I do miss reading more for pleasure, rather than for work or for class. I miss it a lot, actually. I have to try to make the work reading feel like pleasure reading: sometimes it does, but oftentimes does not.

    Great to hear, Tob, that you’re back into reading pretty seriously.

    I also watched the Super Bowl last night, since I’ve come home from a long conference in New York, and now, predictably, I’m sick. So some mindless action on TV was good for me. I also saw the Prince Caspian trailer, and thought it looked good. I was disappointed with the movie of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, so my expectations are low. I also saw a good trailer for Iron Man, which looks better than I thought. I’m still probably looking forward most to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull–there’s an article about it in the latest Vanity Fair.

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