10.50, Saturday 13 Dec 2003

I finished Reader's Block on the tube a couple of days ago. The style is unusual - a stream of dislocated assertations and questions - and two characters: Reader and Protagonist. But it's curious, the mind of the author (or the fictional author) becomes conflated with your own, and you're being guided what to think and simulating the bizarre leaps of thought that always happen but usually are immediately forgotten. It's difficult to tell who's thinking; it's the least frozen book I've ever read, the one which most acknowledges the provocations a text makes in the mind of a reader and works with that. This review explains more, but you can't convey the impression of a book that moves over twenty pages rather than two. There are barely perceptable rhythms, a beat at the edge of hearing, a tide that's really gentle (the best comparison I could make would be Vonnegut's later books, which are minimal sketches of huge and complex things, and heavily hyperlinked with both obvious references, and references you can't tell whether they're meant to be there or not); at the end I couldn't stop reading this list of facts, I wanted to know what happened even though nothing really does, it all happens in a shimmering almost-not-there image at the corner of your perception, and then it left me aloft and it was sad and I stared off into space for most of the day. Wonderful. Highly recommended.

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