I resolved last year to read more fiction in 2009. So far I've read about seven works of fiction, which is about seven more than I read last year. Therefore, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. And heck, the year is only half over.
First up is Kirsten Menger-Anderson's 2008 book Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain. Spanning a 350 year time frame set almost exclusively in New York City, this collection of short stories covers 14 generations, with each story containing at least one passing link to the previous one, (a technique used in Kieslowski's "Three Colors Trilogy" Red, White and Blue) with the central theme being the ongoing evolution of medical science. Of course, much of the medicine depicted in Menger-Anderson's
collection could be considered downright quackery practiced by charlatans and other unsavory characters.
While I didn't find anything in this collection I really disliked, I didn't find anything I really, really liked either. Perhaps one reviewer on Amazon said it best, "clever, but surprisingly forgettable".
Jim Harrison 2000 collection of novellas The Beast God Forgot to Invent had been sitting on my co-worker's desk for over a month, begging me to take it home before I yielded to temptation and grabbed the thing. After finishing it early yesterday morning I'm glad I did. Of the three novellas, one was good, one was very good and the other, "Westward Ho", was great. Very seldom does the printed word make me laugh outloud in public but this novella did a number of times. I was very impressed with Harrison's extensive use of internal monolgue, so well crafted that I must agree with one reviewer on Amazon when he/she wrote "it's like you're having a conversation with the author".
After reading Harrison's book, I want to read more of his stuff. Unlike Menger-Anderson's book, I highly recommend this collection.