Saturday, January 07, 2017

Twenty-one criminally underappreciated books

The editors of GQ asked some notable writers about the most criminally underappreciated books. One entry from the list:
Hanya Yanagihara suggests My Abandonment by Peter Rock (2009)

This is probably the recent novel I recommend most. This short, disciplined, unsettling book is about a girl, Caroline, who’s living with her father off the grid in the Oregon woods. One of the things I love most about this novel is how much it manages to do in so little space, and with such grace and subtlety. Father is a wonderful, mysterious, vivid creation who manages to be compelling while not quite pinnable: Is he really what he seems? What does he want, and what has he done? And then there’s Caroline herself, whose affectlessness becomes heartbreaking as the narrative progresses. The mood of dread that hovers over the book culminates in a single, spectacular scene of violence, but one that’s more suggested than shown. And that, really, is this novel’s power: It demonstrates how the most resonant fiction is by writers who have mastered the art of absence, who have found a way to wield negative space as a literary weapon.
Learn about another entry on the list.

My Abandonment is among Alexis M. Smith's eight favorite stories about women and wilderness.

The Page 69 Test: My Abandonment.

--Marshal Zeringue