Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Benjamin Percy

By posted at 3:00 pm on December 4, 2013 3

covercoverNeither of them had published a novel in a good long while. Neil Gaiman was busy in Hollywood and casting spells, Donna Tartt was holed up in her office and listening to classical music. This made 2013, when they respectively published The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Goldfinch, an exciting year for reading. And judging from their bestseller status, I’m not the only person who felt these were two of the most anticipated titles. If you’re one of those Grinches who avoids something simply because everyone else is talking about it, get over yourself. These books live up to the hype. My wife tries to read books before I do, because I feather them with sticky notes, write in the margins. I have a nerdy, mechanical interest in how sentences and paragraphs and stories are put together. It’s rare anymore that I’m swept away. But that’s what happened to me with both these novels. I reviewed them both (for The New York Times and Esquire), but I felt so transported, so gripped, I had to set down my pen. I ended up reading them twice — the first time for the rush, the second to make analytical sense of the frantic and heart-bruised feelings the stories gave me. Give them a chance and you too will be inhabited, possessed by two of my favorite literary sorcerers.

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3 Responses to “A Year in Reading: Benjamin Percy”

  1. Kroms
    at 1:50 am on December 5, 2013

    I already bought “The Goldfinch”, which I think I’ll be reading over the holidays, but I’m unsold on “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. The few stories of his I read were good, but everyone tells me his endings are letdowns and I’ve been reluctant to try ’em.

    Assuming I disliked the ending of, say, “American Gods”, do I give this one a shot?

  2. David Clough
    at 7:31 pm on December 13, 2013

    You re-read The Goldfinch!!?? You’ve got to be a world-class masochist. It’s like slogging through 500 miles of Philippine jungle with a dull machete to get through it once. And you did it twice? Unbelievable! And totally unnecessary.

  3. C
    at 12:39 am on August 5, 2014

    David – I agree. I actually had a nightmare I had to read The Goldfinch again… months after I finished it.

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