Half way though “Open City”

The Oyster Review just posted their top 100 books of the decade, a dizzying feat which saw their staff read 1000 books in order to make the decision. In their words, naming “Open City” as the number one spot was the least contentious decision of the whole escapade.

Seeing as it has been well over 12 months since I last read any fiction1, I thought it’d be a way to relax over the next week or so. So far, so good. Unfortunately, finding a book at number 1 in books of the decade, puts alot of pressure on the book to be, well, amazing!

So far, it’s engaging but not in a narrative sense. The book is 98% inner monologue of a psychiatry student from nigeria who takes walks around new york city. As pedestrian as that sounds, his reflections and the general quality of the prose (similar to be elegance of Marilynne Robinson), makes it hard to put down.

What I truly appreciate about this style of writing (that is relying on prose rather than strict narrative), is that it brings a sense of careful presence and awareness. Passing comments on a person’s features, the light, how things move, create a reflectiveness that you carry away.

I’ve found myself lovingly clenching on to this state of mind for a few minutes after I stop reading, before the clatter of the world returns.

I’ll report back when the book is over, I’m anticipating having glanced at review (but not read them for spoilers) that the subject of the book may not turn out to be all that he seems.

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  1. which, seeing as you asked, was re-reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. 

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