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Pickle Me This

July 27, 2006

Remarkably Busy

I have suddenly found myself remarkably busy, and I don’t know why or how. But I have been writing, and reading. Just finished the wonderful White Teeth, which I didn’t appreciate enough when I first read it during the summer of 2001. Like many other books, I think its Englishness would have been lost on me then, and I don’t know if I would have had the patience for its detail. I liked it though, but I remembered next to nothing about it upon reading a second time. Which basically meant that I got to read it for the first time all over again, but with a better eye, and I loved it. What a feat, and no wonder Smith struggled with her second book, because this book is pretty much untoppable. It was funny, smart and fact-filled. White Teeth is Zadie Smith’s masterpiece, and she really could just put her feet up and watch TV now, if she wanted to. Though she’s better than that, but she could.

I read Lives of Girls and Women before that, and I didn’t love it. I haven’t read Alice Munro in years and so can’t compare it to her other work, but I got the impression that Lives was hammered together as a novel, and it didn’t function well in that respect. I was bored by the end. Each of the stories were strong on their own, but as a collection, this book was not devourable, which to me does not a novel make.

Yesterday’s Facts and Arguments essay on living abroad with a Canadian passport was a terrifically poignant response to all the murmurings going on about evacuations from Lebanon.

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