Wednesday, July 04, 2007

a lesson in not judging a book by its cover

Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 11:50 AM BST

In Week Two I named Mother’s Milk as one of my least favourite covers from my selection. By dismissing the cover, in part I dismissed the book. The blurb didn’t encourage me either - I began to question why I had even selected this book.

‘A carefully threaded thought unstrung itself and scattered across the floor.’

I was wrong. I enjoyed reading it. I enjoyed it a lot. But - and this is where it gets strange - I don’t know why. There is nothing about the characters (semi-affluent family types) that appeals to me. Equally there is nothing much about their lives that I can relate to. Apart from the very basics that constitute a life - that being birth, living, death. In that order.

‘And if he just wanted to play with his thoughts, nobody could stop him.’

Perhaps the appeal comes solely from St Aubyns writing. His acute observations, always coming in from a sly and unexpected angle. Commentary on the kind of things that I am preoccupied with - even though they are happening to someone I couldn’t care less about.

And for his keen analysis of America alone I would recommend Mother’s Milk for a place on this years shortlist (to be announced later today).

‘So much road and so few places, so much friendliness and so little intimacy, so much flavour and so little taste.’

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