Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Respice Prospice ...

... was my school motto, and means quite simply Look Back, Look Forward. And that's exactly what we want to do when we come to the end of a year, let alone a decade, in books.

The Times has a great list of literary quotes of the year : Rushdie dishes the dirt about a former girlfriend, Julian Barnes displays monumental ignorance about how a mobile phone works ... and who would want to know Patricia Highsmith after this?

Anabel Wynne in The Guardian looks back even further and compares the "noughties" of the C21st with the first decade of the C20th, and sees a preoccupation in both with the post-apocalyptic :
The first decade of any century is a blank canvas: we don't know yet what the picture will look like. As a result, the last 10 years have seen a surge in works that contemplate some kind of holocaust or apocalypse. Among others, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Pesthouse by Jim Crace and of course Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood all deal with the possibility of human disaster on a monumental scale. ... One hundred years ago, the picture was the same. The War of the Worlds catapulted HG Wells - already an established writer - to fame in the UK and the US.
And what exactly was on that list 100 years ago? Reading Copy blog has that list.

Claire Armistead looks forward to 2010 and reckons it :
...looks set to bring the men back to centre court. Ian McEwan and Peter Carey both publish new novels – a replay of the 2001 Booker, perhaps, when Carey pipped McEwan to the laurels.
And we can, of course, expect a lot more "looking forward to" lists in the coming weeks.

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