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Submitted by admin on January 31, 2011 – 5:48 pm2 Comments


By The Omnivore

Most of us have suffered from book-buyer’s block, the paralysis that sets in when choosing what to read next. Is the Booker shortlist too mainstream? Is James Franco really the new Bret Easton Ellis? Is Jilly Cooper ok in a post-ironic way?

Let The Omnivore be your cultural chaperone through the crowded literary landscape, as we bring you a guide to the books of the moment:

Pick of the bunch

PULSEPulse by Julian Barnes

Literary opiate for the middle classes, as Barnes delivers a fix of stories on death, dinner parties and the erotic potential of gloves.

What they’re saying:

“it lacks some of the structural tightness that made earlier volumes, in particular the excellent Cross Channel, so impressive. But many of these pieces are still masterclasses in the form” Tim Martin, The Sunday Telegraph

Would I like it?

Barnes aficionados will lap it up; the uninitiated should start with A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters.

Read all reviews at The Omnivore

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

Before The Hours was a schnozz-car winning film it was a book by American author Michael Cunningham, who returns here with a story of a man who falls in love with his wife’s younger brother.

by_nightfallWhat they’re saying:
“His great gifts are everywhere apparent — the wonderfully exact notation of feelings and sensations and appearances, the observant lyricism, the elegant wit — but the cumulative impact of the novel is oddly muted” Alan Hollinghurst

Would I like it?
If you get a kick out of spotting allusions to Death in Venice and Ulysses while in the company of a neurotic literary scenester, then yes.

Read all reviews at The Omnivore

Caribou Island by David Vann

Alaskan born David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide, a fictional reworking of his father’s suicide, was one of the hottest debuts of the decade. His bleakly comic follow-up, Caribou Island, shatters his state’s reputation for folksy cosiness.

What they’re saying:
“As a portrait of stymied lives and broken dreams, it is more vivid than the most-praised novel of last year, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which feels like a soap opera — albeit a Pulitzer prize-winning one — in comparison.” Tom Gatti, The Times

Caribou-Island-by-David-VannWould I like it?
Not if you’re Sarah Palin. But if you enjoy Cormac McCarthy, only wish he had a sense of humour, then this is right up your street. Although you should probably read Legend of a Suicide first.

Read all reviews at The Omnivore

Chapman’s Odyssey by Paul Bailey

A strange book about a man awaiting a stomach operation and the people who visit him. Harry Chapman’s bedside companions range from his hypercritical mother, Babar and Celeste, Pip from Great Expectations, his aunt Rose, to a man who wants to sell him T.S. Eliot’s teeth.

What they’re saying:
“Bailey’s imagination, that amazing breeding-ground for image, anecdote, and caricature, is not as fecund as it once was … But it is nevertheless a privilege to be in his company.” Leo Robson, The Observer

Would I like it?
According to its publishers, this book is “For fans of Alan Bennett, E M Forster and Beryl Bainbridge … with an abundance of literary references to charm lovers of the classics.” If that sounds like you then go for it.

Read all reviews at The Omnivore

The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders

Clearly hoping to ape the success of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale’s bestseller about a notorious 19th century murder, Judith Flander’s book whisks the reader on a ghoulish tour through some famous Victorian homicides.

What they’re saying:
“Flanders’s knowledge of the period is both wide and extraordinarily deep. She writes incisively and often with dark wit.” Andrew Taylor, The Independent

Would I like it?
In 1827 the recently hanged body of the murderer William Corder was wired up to a battery outside Suffolk county hospital in order “to make it twitch in a demonstration of galvanic power”. If you find that interesting, then you’ll probably like The Invention of Murder.

Read all reviews at The Omnivore

The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews for new books, films and plays.

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