Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh is a funny little book that takes shots at Hollywood, the commercialization of death, and basically anyone without the least bit of self-awareness. It features a love triangle between Aimee, a cosmetologist at the funeral home; her boss Mr. Joyboy, the embalmer; and an English poet named Dennis, who works at a funeral home for pets. It was clever and funny, and while I understood Aimee's ultimate fate, I didn't necessarily buy it. I felt the way she was portrayed indicated she would have dumped both her suitors instead, but maybe that's too much to expect of a book written in the 1940's.

Last night I finished Citizen Vince by Jess Walter, who continues to impress me more and more with each book of his I read. Citizen Vince takes place during the week before the presidential election in 1980 when the titular character, who has been relocated to Spokane by the witness protection program, finds his old life catching up to him. His struggle to truly break free of who he was mirrors his struggle deciding who to vote for. It sounds like a forced analogy, I know, but it really works, giving Vince a shot at true freedom and humanity for the first time in his life.

And now... I'm diving back into Proust. Wish me luck.

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