Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Their Various States of Peril

Last night I stayed up late because I had to finish John Brandon's upcoming novel CITRUS COUNTY. And when I say I had to finish, I mean I was compelled! Gripped! Creeped out! I was nervous about what might happen to the various characters in their various states of peril! John Brandon is a wonderful writer in a literary way but not MERELY. I mean, there's real suspense. Sometimes writers get all beautiful on you and forget to remind you to turn the pages. Not John Brandon! He does it all. He can be concerned with language and craft while ratcheting up the thrills with the other hand. Plus he can be funny at the same time - that kind of fiendish humor they never tell you is in WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (This is a real thing: now the government requires "bloggers" to say whether they received the books they "promote" for free, and John Brandon, who is a friend, did give me the book, plus I work for his publisher - McSweeney's - in the form of my monthly BELIEVER column and other occasional doodads. But you know me! I wouldn't even mention the book if I didn't love it.) Finally, near the end, there's an owl in the book, once again proving my hardy thesis that owls constitute a basic component of good literature. Somehow this randomly selected illustration seems appropriate.