Fourth of July was spent slow cooking a brisket and consuming mojitos with friends. Good times but no reading. I finished reading Telex from Cuba on Saturday afternoon. It happened to receive the NYTBR cover this past weekend. I think I tend to agree with the reviewer on this one. It’s not a perfect book, but a good one. The history of the Americans in Cuba fascinated me, how they refused to believe what was going on before their eyes. Levels of classism and racism abound as do large amounts of repression. The novel has several narrators, but only one told from the first person, that of K.C. Stites. He’s looking back on what happened, but oddly with a lot of sympathy for those who look the worst. The part that worked least for me was the story of Rachel K. the cabaret dancer who sleeps with Prio, Batista, and the Castros supposedly. That story line didn’t nestle as well amongst the others. Telex succeeds as a good first novel.
I’ve since started reading Augustus by John Williams. Wait, didn’t I just say that I was going to read Stoner by the same author? Yes, but I saw this book first and when I realized it was about the Roman Emperor, I grabbed it. It’s written in epistolary form! Wow! I’m amazed by it right now.
I have to travel to Philadelphia on Thursday for a funeral but am going to spend an extra day in the area. So it might be light posting this week again. We’ll see. My laptop broke and I’ve been too busy to stand in line at the Apple Genius Bar. I know you can make appointments ahead of time, but it still requires waiting around. Regardless, I hope to have Augustus finished before I leave so I can bring something else with me.Â I’ll report back.
AUGUSTUS is great stuff. Not only the development of characters and plot, but the way he artfully evokes the atmosphere of the Roman times.