30 November 2011


Sometime last month, or was it two months ago? Sometime ago I read Ian McEwan's Saturday, which I found to be very entertaining. It reminded me, vaguely and likely inaccurately, of a Don DeLillo novel. I don't know why it did; it just occurred to me (as in occurrere, to run against, befall, present itself) that it did. I remember that I did try very hard not to think about what I was reading while I was reading Saturday. I just let myself be drawn in. What was there to think about? I learned nothing from it. I must be thick or I must have bad taste. From Amsterdam, also by McEwan, I learned a little bit more. From Joseph O'Neill's Netherland—to me, a more congenial post-9/11 novel (if there's such a thing as that), and which I'm rereading right now—I learned a lot more. But I'm talking like Miss Van Vluyck of the Lunch Club. Is the novel a lesson? Should it instruct more than it should amuse?