Friday, August 03, 2007


A pisser of a week, and I originally contemplated a detailed post on everything that irritates me right now -- idiots in bars, humidity, property taxes, etc. But I'll pass.

I go to London in just over two weeks, which should be a proper balm (although I'm told that at present exchange rates, they use US $20 bills as toilet paper).

In the meantime:

#33 -- "The Life of Graham Greene, vol. 2" by Norman Sherry

#34 -- "Agamemnon's Daughter" by Ismail Kadare

It's been a year and a half since I read volume one of the Sherry trilogy. I don't read a ton of biographies any more, but this one's of one of the few people I could legitimately call a hero, and covers perhaps the most interesting years of his life. Within this volume alone, GG is a best-selling author, a spy, bothered by the McCarthy-era U.S. government, a playwright, and carrying on a marriage and multiple romantic liaisons. Meanwhile, if anyone ever does a biography of me, the "Atlanta years" volume will consist of: drank a lot, watched hockey, started a blog. Kind of humbling.

The Kadare book is a novella and two short stories. The first two pieces -- the title story and "The Blinding Order" -- rank near the tippy-top of his work. I've rarely seen the humor in Kadare that others find, but in both cases I see it here. They also, perhaps not coincidentally, rank as two of his strongest condemnations of the former Albanian regime. The last piece is the only one written post-Communism, and is the weakest one here. That means something, but I'm too lazy to contemplate what.

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