Sunday, 5 September 2010

Bye bye former favs

Over the past few weeks I’ve read and even re-read several books by authors I used to love such as Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palahniuk and Margaret Atwood. Sadly, not all of them lived up to my expectations. I my early twenties, which isn’t that long ago, I was completely gob smacked by their original and hyperactive stories (Palahniuk) and their incorporation of contemporary media, language and typography (JPod rules!). It all seemed so daring and fresh seeing as I was spending most of my time in the company of Dickens and the Bronte sisters then. I literally craved a funky fictional mish mash of madness, movies and morbidity (thank you Chuck).

I re-read Coupland’s Microserfs a while back and although I once love d this novel’s ingenuity, I now felt it was gimmicky, bland and outdated. It’s basically about with the rise of Silicon Valley, a bunch of geeks and their families, Microsoft and Apple, in a nutshell themes that don’t particularly interest me if it wasn’t for Coupland’s incredible ability to add warmth, humor and tons of one-liners to the mix. It worked in the nineties and still has its charm but sadly, Microserfs has lost its wow factor. Needless to say, I won’t be re-reading Jpod anytime soon in order to hold on to the illusion of this novel’s greatness.

And then there’s Palahniuk, I still have fond memories of the summer I spent on a Palahniuk high (2003) but for some reason his crazy slang infused bursts of adrenaline just don’t cut it for me anymore. I only got halfway through 2008’s Rant, thinking all those years of freaky shit wore him out a bit. 2009’s Pygmy sounded like a classic nonsensical Palahniuk trip but after page 20 I packed it in, seriously doubting my once giddy affection for the man. Now although his latest novel Tell-all looks and sounds great, I think I’m going to pass one. Maybe he’s losing his touch or maybe, just maybe I’m actually becoming too mature for his twisted and once tantalizing banter.

After realizing that people and preferences clearly change as we get older, I’m becoming slightly hesitant to start reading Murakami again. Will his surrealism still have the same affect on me as it used to or will it be another passing twenties fad? Who knows? I’m just dying to read his new novel 1q84.

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