"Today's electrocuted readers, accustomed to reading quickly and briefly on small screens. And, yes , goodbye to all of them, at least for as long as this book lasts and might last. Unplug from external inputs to nourish yourselves exclusively on internal electricity." The above quote is taken from the opening paragraph of this magnificent, exuberant 550-pager by Argentine author Rodrigo Fresán, a novel for lovers of books and reading, a novel about writing and writers and a plethora of other provocative topics for readers to linger over and luxuriate in. I plan to devote as much time as needed to let the words and sentences tingle my spinal cord and electrify my blood at the pace of five pages a day. Doing the math, I will be ready to post a full review at the end of July. Until then . . .
"Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle." This Jim Thompson quote would serve as the perfect epigraph for Recoil . Oklahoma Jim cooks up a simmering fictional stew with Recoil , his 1953 hardboiled crime novel that's a searing indictment of much of American society. That gent in the above photo could be a poster boy for 1950s American affluence and optimism. There he is, all smiles, proud of his new car and house, the head of the household ready to drive off to his high paying job as an oil company junior executive. What's not pictured is what Jim Thompson focuses on in Recoil , things like his oil company creating " a, broad sluggishly moving expanse of greasy sludge and mud and water; the waste from the city's oil field." As one character says sourly, "A little present from the oil companies. They've taken a billion dollars out of this field, and they're taking more every day. But th