Following a hectic November and even more frenetic start to December I’m having a readerly day off.
I was supposed to go to Cambridge to see my grandson in his first school nativity play but lost out in the ‘only one ticket between two grandmas’ raffle… so here I am with a booked off day and nothing to do.
Nothing except light the fire, turn off the phone… and continue my very hungry reading of George Saunders. (I’m still reading The Old Wives Tale but have paused half way through as the action switches from one sister to the other.) Meanwhile I am choking with asthmatic laughter as I read my way through the Works of George. I consumed the magnificent Pastoralia at single greedy sitting a couple of weeks ago – got to go back and reread. But couldn’t stop myself starting Civilwarland In Bad Decline and now am in thrall… no one writes of so much horror, degeneration and sheer goddam badness in such a good way, with happy endings. Who else would write ‘Isabelle’ – race riots, murders, child suicides, corruption, and a happy ending? Who else would have come up with the brilliant conception in ‘The 400-pound CEO’ of a mildly incompetent but reasonably well-meaning sub-God who is running and ruining our lives through his not really intentional lack of care.
And maybe as the sub-God slinks away, the true God will sweep me up in his arms, saying: My sincere apologies, a mistake has been made. Accept a new birth, as a token of my esteem.
George – the incomparable, wonderful, wise, brutally hilarious George, as I think of him, is laughing bcause he is so serious and telling truths I don’t see anyone else coming out with. One of his big things is work – haven’t seen anyone write so well about the inanities of some of those jobs I’ve done in my long and uninspiring past…You’ve got to stop crying to laugh. Wonder how that Nativity play is going?