Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Saturday I read Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, a collection of six short stories and a novella all set in Thailand. They deal primarily with contemporary Thai life or the clash between Thai and American cultures. There wasn't a bad story in the bunch and I enjoyed the collection a lot.

Then Sunday I read The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley, which I saw in a best of the year list over at Asking The Wrong Questions. It's already a contender for my best of 2006 list. It was a great mixture of Dashiell Hammett and Charles Portis, set in the west in the 1970s. There's a hard-boiled detective, of course, hired first to go track down a wandering ex-husband and then a young woman missing for 10 years, but just when both mysteries petered out and I started wondering what the rest of the book was going to be about, true motives and natures came to light and it took off in a new direction. It was funny when it needed to be but didn't try too hard and wasn't afraid to be brutal and bloody either. It was so fantastic that I went right out and bought myself a copy the next day. And today I'm going downstairs to grab all the books we have of his off the shelf.

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