the green fields beyond


Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fiction drought

No matter what else I'm up to, or what non-fiction I'm reading (currently: Consider the Lobster And Other Essays), I like to be going through at least one good novel at any given time. I enjoy "decompressing" from the day before bed, with some fiction (lately, Mel's been using Sudoku for the same purpose...but I'm scared of it...numbers make my head hurt). Well-written prose is a pleasure to read, and it also helps me, as a sometime preacher, to develop an "ear" for sharp language and narrative.

But the past several novels I've tried have been disappointing. I don't know if I haven't been in the right frame of mind, or if I've just been unlucky in my picks. Kingsolver's "Prodigal Summer" was ok but preachy. Lee Jackson's "Redemption" started out with a cool, near-future premise about a fugitive trying to hide from an out-of-control Homeland Security department, but then swerved into lame cliches, cardboard characters, and silly villains. There were a couple of others but I can't even remember them. I retreated back to the dependable John Le Carre, who once again did not disappoint me (A Small Town in Germany is now a bit dated, but the characters kept me interested, and the plot twist still works). But he's sort of a known quantity, a cop-out. I'd like to try somebody who's new to me.
So: any fiction suggestions? I don't care if it's old or new, any genre or subject matter. But it's got to have three-dimensional characters, well-crafted sentences, and some sort of plot that holds together. That's not too much to ask, is it? Oh, and i should add that if I don't like the book, i won't hold it against you personally...this stuff can be pretty subjective.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions!

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