If you're a fan of Shone's movie blog (and if you aren't, what's wrong with you?), you'll discover a whole 'nuther side to him in his just-published novel In the Rooms, one of the few novels set in Manhattan that gives you a true feel for the city, the meteorological shifts of mood and status from one block to another, the subtle codes of manner and micro-inflections of irony that baffle his protagonist (a London literary agent named Patrick who decamps to New York after fizzling out in his native backyard), the sonic semiology of car honks, the secularly churchiness of AA meetings and brittle crunch of book parties.
Apr 13, 2011
Ladies and gentlemen, be ready for take off
Oh the mixed feeling of tingly excitement and imminent catastrophe that is publication day! I say "tingly excitement" under advisement. Earlier in the week I was feeling nothing but lurking dread, a feeling which my wife patiently explained to me was, in fact, a feeling of pleasurable anticipation rather akin to Kundera's unbreakable lightness of being. The wiring in my head was wrong. Or I was misrouting something. Or misidentifying something else. I was very suspicious at first, as I usually am of any theory of my wife's that turns out to be unarguably true, peering at her with the skepticism of a skinflint who has had his clock cleaned by a Vegas Casino. But she was right. The day is finally upon me and the clouds of dread have briefly parted to reveal a small patch of blue; and in the middle of that patch of blue, a skylark, effortlessly looping the loop:—
Later tonight I hope to thank the estimable Wolcott, whose gimlet-eyed observations I used to devour when I was but a junior punk on Fleet Street trying to perfect a Johnny Rottenesque critical sneer, not daring to dream of one day coming to New York myself, but I would also like to do so publically on this blog. Wolcott's limber, double-jointed prose continues to inspire in me a mixture of gobsmacked awe that such things are possible, and meek resentment that only one man seems capable of bringing it off. The same feeling I get watching chinese gymnasts. This Homer appears to be nod-free.