Revisiting Old Masters

I’ve been revisiting old masters to find something. I started 1Q84 and hope to finish that sometime between now and 2Q84. I don’t think any book as long as Murakami’s epic deserves its length and it’s pretty clear from the outset that either the text isn’t well-translated or Murakami has let his own voice run amok. Still, perhaps like the present day version of his beloved Paul McCartney, there’s enough of a remnant of signature Good Haruki sentences to keep me coming back.

I found the converse to be true when at long last, I opened George Saunders’s IN PERSUASION NATION. Over the years, I’ve grown weary of Saunders’s SignatureStyleTM. I get it. Marketing and advertising sucks. We’re inundated by it. And it numbs us to the horrors going on in other parts of the world. Then I read “The Red Bow” and “Christmas,” back-to-back stories in the collection. Jaw-dropping. Stunning. Beautiful. Works on the level of satire and naturalism. Reminding me once again, why one revisits old masters. Because even masters evolve and become more masterful.

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