Unfinished Book

Unfinished Book

British author, Christopher Fowler, writing about unfinished books — books not read.

I was amused, and I would have to agree with most of the novels on the list as “Too Long — Didn’t Read,” especially his commentary about Middlemarch, but there were two that I found surprising. One was Good Omens. I recall reading it the first time, and being totally sucked in, enthralled with wit and invention, whimsy and macabre, the obvious and then the obfuscated occult. Fun. I’ll admit, though, in the intervening years, I’ve tried to pick it back up to reread it, and I was never grabbed like I was that first time — decades past. So I can sympathize. More a sophomore adventure — but that novel was one of my tops for many years.

However, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? That is a cultural classic, and really, in its own way, should be required reading. I think I’ve reread it three or four times now, and — so far — it hasn’t lost its luster. It’s the dark, seamy side of America that was, at the end of the idyllic 1960s, launching into a new era where politicians and media, and the rest is history.

One winter’s eve, holed at a place along the Texas Gulf Coast, winter winds whipping over the dunes, I curled up under a blanket, and made it through Joyce’s Ulysses.

Ulysses is the best novel of the last hundred years,” and it only took me 15 years or so to finish it.

What that list from the great British novelist made me realize is that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an American novel. As such, it doesn’t translate well outside of my country. Who was it who suggested that the US and the UK were two countries divided by a common language?


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