Back to fiction

Undergoing career change has lead me to read a lot of career books. As usual, I’m happy to learn and intellectualise but ironically, most of them advocate just doing stuff.

Something I did do is start a book club with some old and new friends. The criteria for the books are that each must be a work of fiction, no longer than 300 pages. It’s not a hard ceiling, you could go narrowly over if you so desired. It’s a book club for the lazy and the time pressured.

So far we’ve read Less, Lolita and Lullaby, books that I’ve just realised as I type them out, all begin with ‘L’. This isn’t a prerequisite though, the next book is The Wasp Factory.

Having some social pressure on me to read fiction has lead to me devouring other fiction books again. Recently I’ve finished An American Marriage, Skin and Call Me By Your Name; 2 out of the 3 were really good.

Call Me By Your Name was a wonderful film; I enjoyed the book just as much. The notion of time is so important. In the film there is no moving beyond Oliver’s departure, the narrative becomes a self-contained time capsule of a hazy summer, whereas the book moves beyond, into the protagonists’ middle age, where they reminisce and speculate on what they could have done.

Time makes us sentimental. Perhaps, in the end, it is because of time that we suffer.

There’s an amazing scene where Elio’s father consoles him after Oliver leaves that I’ll leave for another day. What the characters find later, in a bit of a seize the day style revelation is that,

Twenty years was yesterday, and yesterday was just earlier this morning, and morning seemed light-years away.

Your history becomes immediate to you, you remember it in great swathes, chunks of time, really separated by years, become the same while tomorrow, if you do it right, is a long way away.

Getting back to fiction has been a joy. Next I’ll go for Three Women, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and The Wall.