16 January 2009

Eyes and Ears - 16/01/2009


Up straight, Year 8!
- Mavis Prosser

Here's the thing: 39 years into life and I finally - finally - realise that I don't like reading in bed. In fact, I don't much like reading lying down. Why has it taken me so long to cotton on to this? Because everyone likes going to bed with a good book! So I just assumed that I must too: I must, dammit! But I don't. You see? I find that I can't get comfortable; I can't coordinate where the book needs to be and where my arms want to be. And, apart from anything else, I just want to go to sleep when only a minute ago I wanted to be reading the book of the moment. Du jour, if you will.

And so it came to pass that last night I sat up straight on the couch - with my feet up on the coffee table; like I care what you think - and finished the particularly gripping book I'd been, well, gripped by all week: The Exception by Christian Jungersen. Have you read this book? Oh you must. Grippedness guaranteed.

Four women work at the Danish Centre for Genocide Information - not a particularly thrilling start - and when two of them receive death threats they soon stop looking for an outsider to blame and turn on each other. Although never told in the first person, different parts of the story focus on different women. As the story moves along we expect to learn more, and we do, but the different characters' stories provide slight contradictions for each other, and each character only reveals so much while hiding or repressing other things. Who to believe, and who to sympathise with? Sympathy is in short supply as the women show themselves to be not so far removed from the war criminals they investigate.

The language and style of the book is very plain, but it's this plainness set against the dramatic present and past events described that pulls the reader madly along. This book is everywhere. Really, you must read it.

Radio hb:

Franklin's Tower - Grateful Dead
Ain't That Pretty At All - Warren Zevon
Woman 2 Woman - Urge Overkill
Two Hands - Townes Van Zandt
93 Million Miles Away - Swoop

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