Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ingalls and Hoban

I've recently discovered Rachel Ingalls's work. Her new book—actually a selection from two collections previously published in the U.K.—is entitled Times Like These. It's a humdrum title for a typically white-knuckled ride. (I should also add that the cover art is overly fussy, and the proofreading atrocious.) If you can find any Ingalls anywhere, give her a shot. My favorite so far is the short novel Mrs. Caliban, which sports a rave from John Updike. (Strangely, I can't find this reproduced in any of Updike's nonfiction collections; is it possible he just provided a blurb, without actually writing a review?*)

In other lit news: I can't wait for 81-year-old Russell Hoban's latest novel, Linger Awhile, to come out in the U.S.—if it ever does. This appreciative Guardian review suggests that his last six books could be published as a single novel, "A Dance to the Music of Time with a kazoo chorus."

* * *

Any New York Sun readers out there? If so, please let me know if you see B. Kite's letter to the editor, re Otto Penzler's article on Harry Stephen Keeler.**


*Update (1/2/06) I bought a different edition of Mrs. Caliban, which provides a fuller Updike quote: "I loved Mrs. Caliban. So deft and austere in its prose, so drolly casual in its fantasy...but opening up into a deep female sadness that makes us stare. An impeccable parable, beautifully written from first paragraph to last."

**Update (1/2/06) Light Reading gives the perfect reading of The Riddle of the Traveling Skull. Take that, Otto Penzler!


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