Two books a month is the goal and so far I’ve been dead on target. Even with a new Cryptic Crosswords book and a toddler-sized stack of comics from a SECRET ADMIRER I still managed to achieve my goal this month.
I had read the graphic novel adaptation of the first novella included here — City of Glass — and loved it, so I wanted to read the original plus the other two works: Ghosts and The Locked Room. All three are existential detective stories that start out with mundanely familiar tropes — protect a client from a would-be murderer, spy on a target, locate a missing person — but which quickly veer off into tangents that explore fundamental questions of identity, language, writing, and simple existence. There are stories unlike any others and well worth checking out.
This is sort of a re-read, but only sort of. I first read it in…well…1984 and I was just a punk kid then who didn’t know nothin’ about nothin’. (I read it on my own, not for a class, so I didn’t have a kind teacher to help explain that this world was exactly like Soviet Russia but could never happen in America because we have Freedom and Democracy and Checks and Balances.) Also I skipped a part of the book (the book-within-a-book) because I found it dull (honestly, it still kinda is). So now I’ve officially read the whole thing. And man. Wow. You know, for a while there certain people were telling political lefties “Okay, quit with the Orwell references. Enough is enough.” I suspected then but now know for certain that we weren’t making half the Orwell references we needed to. The true horror here is not the totalitarian state described within, but the near-complete compliance the citizens have for it. Definitely required reading.
I believe I have my two April books already picked out. I’ll report back on them in 30!