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Exit, Raskolnikov. Enter, Bigger Thomas.

Summer of Classics continues on.

I have finally put Crime and Punishment behind me. The less said about that "classic", the better; suffice to say that it's probably the last 19th Century European novel I'll ever read. I just don't have the patience or interest in such long, meandering, digressive, dialogue-heavy novels that apparently once enraptured readers who had considerably more time on their hands than I do.

Fortunately, I've found genuine relief in moving on to Richard Wright's Native Son (1940), which I'm reading for the first time since high school. Though I've already come to the realization that Wright was certainly not a stylist in the league of his contemporaries Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, and his expositions seem too obvious and preachy, but still it's quite refreshing to finally return to fiction that moves forward steadily with a minimum of authorial clutter. Whether that means I'll ultimately consider Native Son to be a definitive classic, remains to be seen. But after just a few hours of reading the novel, at least I'm now enjoying myself again.

July 16, 2012 in Books | Permalink


But surely you're not abandoning Dickens?

Posted by: Shelley at Jul 17, 2012 5:46:16 PM

Oh, yes, Dickens and I were permanently over as of late summer.

Posted by: Pete at Jul 18, 2012 9:41:01 AM