Monday, 29 March 2010

We need to talk about Gilead

Anonymous asked me what to do if you started Home and didn't like it.
Of course, I don't really know how to answer that because I can't imagine how you could start it and not like, but then, Gilead was written first so I suppose you should read it first, really.

The thing is that I loved it even more than Home, but so much of that was because Home is told from what turns out to be such an incomplete perspective. Home is all hints at the past and part-stories and implication that terrible things have happened, so reading Gilead after it is like shining lights into all of the corners, only that's wrong, because it's still only glowing, not really lit.
The voice in Gilead is more real, and John Ames becomes a character that you have to care so deeply about and, through him, you care about Jack too, in a way that you can't so much in Home. The reverend's internal wrestlings, his tortured attempts at honesty with himself, and the piles of regret about how and why things have happened in his life and that of others - they all pulled me in, in a way that made the behinds of my eyes hurt. If you didn't like Home, I'd say you should try again, because I think this was a fortunate and lovely way round to read the two, but if you can't, then I implore you to try Gilead.

I think I've reached 15, which was Verne's Around the world in eighty days. I did enjoy it, though not in an eye-hurty way, and of course I was a little let down by the fact that there wasn't a lion in a top hat dancing round a lamp post.

Still on what you might call the classics, and making good use of my ebook reader, I went straight on to the very very quick read of 16 The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - atmospheric and fun and actually with plenty of food for thought, and since I'm ashamed to say I've never read Treasure Island it's moved me on to starting that, number 17 and promising to be another speedy read, but no less good for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment