Although on the sidebar you can see I’m reading three books, I am actually super-focused on two of them: One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson and Bleak House by Charles Dickens. They are both part of my last semester as a literature student (panic!) and I’m trying to make the most, more than I usually do, of the lessons and the professors.
One Good Turn is part of my British Contemporary course. The professor, an adorable woman who is always happy and always encouraging us to read, write or do anything we want, expects us to apply postmodernist theory to the book we are reading. For me, that means two things: deconstructing the discourse, which I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, yet; and intertexuality. Kate Atkinson’s novels are full of reference to other detective novels, but also to classic 19th century writers. Just a couple of days ago, I found this quote which I think captures the essence of Atkinson. Beware, it contains spoilers from Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier):
Women aren’t noted for drowning. She supposed Jackson Brodie was right. Louise made a mental list of women who had drowned – Maggie Tulliver, Virginia Woolf, Natalie Wood, Rebecca de Winter. True, they weren’t all real and, technically speaking, Rebecca didn’t drown, did she? She was murdered, and she had cancer. The Rasputin of romantic literature – bad women need killing several times over apparently. You could keep a good woman down but not a bad one.
Isn’t Atkinson genius? There is so much critique done there, an exploration of 20th century women who have influenced her enough as to remember them and put them down in her novel. I encourage all detective fiction readers out there to give Kate Atkinson a try. Her novels are a huge pleasure to read.
Bleak House is no news for many of you (I’ve seen Ashley is also reading it, among others). Mine is the Penguin Clothbound edition that has little parts made up of a few chapters. I am done with part one which I plan on reviewing as soon as I re-read the first chapters. I think there is more there than what I saw with my first reading. That being said, I am not a Dickens fan, but right now I’m utterly enjoying Bleak House. I don’t know if this love will last throughout the 942 pages left, but, for the moment, I’m happy and so addicted to the book that I carry it to college every day despite its weight (I’m sure it’s at least two pounds). I also appreciate that Penguin included some of the original drawings from the facsimile edition. They really help to mentally portray some of the situations.
What are you reading? Any other Bleak House readers visiting this blog? :)