Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt. Patrick DeWitt’s previous book The Sisters Brothers was accused of being a Coen Brothers movie in novel form. Well this time out, he’s done a Wes Anderson movie on paper with more than a hint of Gormanghast. I loved this book. It was so weird and funny. It takes place in an unspecified time in somewhere vaguely European ridden with an ongoing but unspecified war. Lucien Minor ( or Lucy as he is better known) goes to work in a large crumbling castle to work as an Undermajordomo. Like Sisters Brothers, it is a bit episodic, but it never overstays it’s welcome.
Star Trek: Assignment Eternity by Greg Cox. I read this a couple of weeks ago on a day when I was ill in bed. It features the old school TOS Crew getting involved in an adventure with Gary Seven from the Assignment Earth episode. Given that Gary Seven was a James Bond type character in the Trek Universe, the writer has a lot of fun throwing in references to an abundance of 1960’s spy series like The Prisoner and The Avengers. It also involves time travel and protecting the timeline. I enjoyed this. It helped me through the sick day. However it does smack of someone getting their first and potentially only attempt to write a Star Trek novel, throwing everything at the wall. To be fair, Peter David takes a similar approach, but with him it is usually done with far more elegance than is managed here.
Day by AL Kennedy. I read AL Kennedy’s Doctor Who novel a while back and enjoyed it immensely and at the time I reminded myself to check out some of her other writing. So I bought Day (which is absolutely nothing like Doctor Who for the record). It is the story of an inarticulate man told in a non-linear stream of consciousness taking him through World War 2 and joining an RAF Bomber crew, through meeting the love of his life, and working as an extra in a POW movie years after the war. Although not necessarily in that order. I found this really interesting. I can’t say I loved it. I found it quite an intense read, largely due to the way it was cold.
The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald. It has been years since I’ve read any Lew Archer novels. I really don’t know why. This was great. Lew Archer is a more thoughtful, more empathetic version of Philip Marlowe and he has his work cut out for himself in this book. Macdonald still has a great gift for description.
I also tried…and regrettably failed to get into Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin. I gave it about 100 pages before I gave up. I think that I need to know more about philosophy and the concepts being discussed in the book before I try to tackle it again…If anyone can recommend a decent basic philosophy book, let me know. I’m in the market.