Description: Highlights from an entertaining and idiosyncratic series of essays from James Wood, the leading literary critic of his generation. It’s a collection which ranges widely, from a loving analysis of Keith Moon’s drum technique to the intentions, gifts and limitations of some of our most celebrated modern novelists, including Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan.
1.THE FUN STUFF: HOMAGE TO KEITH MOON
Wood analyses the lost genius of Moon and his ability to create magic out of mayhem, relating this to his own experience of learning to play drums as a boy.
2. KAZUO ISHIGURO: NEVER LET ME GO: Wood considers a masterwork that melds sci-fi with literary fiction – a cloning story that ‘combines the fantastic and realistic till we can no longer separate them’.
3. MARILYNNE ROBINSON: Wood looks at the religious sensibility of the American author whose Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead was one of the most ‘unconventional…popular novels of recent times.’
4. CONTAINMENT: TRAUMA AND MANIPULATION IN IAN McEWAN: Wood admires and critiques the author of Atonement, Enduring Love and On Chesil Beach – ‘the great contemporary stager of traumatic contingency as it strikes ordinary lives’.
5. PACKING MY FATHER-IN-LAW’S LIBRARY: Wood describes disposing of his late father in law’s library, and considers whether our personal collections of books hide us more than reveal us to our descendants.
Abridged by Eileen Horne
Produced by Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.
A whimsy, a ramble, and okay on in the background but did I learn anything WOW or did it have me convinced that this IS made of the fun stuff promised in the title?
Not at all.
I would be mildly furious if I had shelled out for this, however for those lit-crit luvvies it may be worth a go.