Sunday, April 18, 2010

Small World

Let me rave about a book that I haven’t been able to part with for overly two months. I came to the library and asked for something uplifting but challenging and the result was the introduction to the world of David Lodge’s novels. I started with “Changing Places” and ended up reading everything available there.

His trilogy of academic satires captured my attention partially because of its subject – the world of literature, language and literary scholars are familiar to me. Among the trilogy “Small World” became my absolute favorite.

It is a second book of the trilogy with “Changing Places”, being the first and”Nice Work” - the last. A person who recommended me the author said: “He is one of the most intelligent contemporary writers” and I couldn’t agree more. It isn’t that he is a scholar himself – he was an English professor before devoting himself fully to writing, but the way he weaves references, allusions, quotations into his texts.

And the plot, the plot of this book is done so interestingly. Essentially it is a blue print of a soap opera populated with people from an academic field - a soap opera in disguise of a serious read. So what we have is a masterful mix of melodrama, suspense, elements of a fair tale, adventure, exalted emotions, sexual liaisons and philosophical discussions on the nature of text and literature in general. You are so caught in the twists and turns of the plot or, better say interconnected plots, and its numerous characters that you realize that you have been fooled only at the end of the novel. Brilliant!

It is incredibly entertaining and certainly demands a second reading in order to catch some references, fleeting comments and such. The man referenced even himself along with Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare and the Grail Quest. How neat is that?


Gary said...

what an energetic and eloquent review!

perhaps a new career: book critic?

VC said...

Thanks! It certainly can be fun.