Friday, November 18, 2005

43. Sparrow Nights by David Gilmour

Sparrow book pictureThis author was interviewed on Sounds Like Canada (the interview will probably be up for a couple more days) because he just won the Governor General's award for literature for his latest book, A Perfect Night to Go to China. He was a lively and straightforward speaker and quite funny. Up until this latest book, his theme has tended to be about sex, older men and younger woman. He also said how he rigorously edits down his prose, to make it as lean as possible, a strong advertisement for a writer when one is at the final lap of a 50 books project. Plus, I need to get some CanLit here.

I picked up Sparrow Nights at the library again and immediately got into it. It's a modern novel and I mean that in the sense that it's contemporary and adult, hardback with a fancy looking cover. It makes you feel very grown up and today reading it. It's basically the story about a slightly unhinged french lit professor and his recovery from a breakup with a younger woman. It's really about getting over heartbreak. The story and theme are not particularily original (it seems that most everybody has gone through the same feelings his character did, but usually in their 30s. I sure hope that it won't happen again in the 50s!), but his writing style and observations are hilarious. He's raunchy and critical and speaks with the angry, clever voice of the intelligent victim, whose last resistance against defeat is simply the colour of his own personality. There were several moments where I laughed out loud.

I'll definitely pick up some of his other books. I'm curious if the style will be as distinct and yet have a different voice.

Strongly recommended.

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