Posts Tagged ‘ian mcewan’

Aught Lang Syne: The Decade in Literature, Part I

In addition to our Aught-themed Sunday Book Review, which we began last week, NPI is presenting a more general look at fiction of the decade in which we look quickly and some of the most significant works of literature published during this decade. This is Part I of a two-part series.

2666 — Roberto Bolaño

 The epic of the Aughts (so long as we’re not counting The Wire), 2666 affords Bolaño the posthumous chance to opine on death in all its forms: from the corporeal to the metaphysical. His characters are deep even when they are fleeting, and his style (in Natasha Wimmer’s translation) ranges from florid to hard-boiled. In contemplating his own legacy, Bolaño pretty much ensured it. 

–Tim

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay — Michael Chabon

I’ve already expanded on my high opinion of Michael Chabon’s novel about the Golden Age of Comic Books; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay presents a compelling portrait of what it’s like to create fantasies in an era of global turmoil—a particularly resonant story of the Aughts, even if Chabon’s novel came out in 2000. While he deals with themes like evil and fantasy, however, Chabon is adept at depicting a rich setting of New York City in the 1930s.

— John S

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Funky Winkerbean: The Comics’ Most Interesting Failure

funky-813

This* is not an unusual strip of Funky Winkerbean—the bane of the “funny pages.” Funky Winkerbean is not a funny comic strip, and it isn’t a particularly good one. I do not read it with any kind of regularity. In spite of, or maybe even because of, these reasons, though, Funky Winkerbean is by far the most interesting strip to ever appear in the Comics.

*In the current plot line, Wally returns home to a wife that thought he had been killed in action. Hilarious!

First, a little history.* Tom Batiuk started Funky Winkerbean as a high school teacher in 1972. The strip was about high schoolers. I suppose it was funny (in a bland, unoffensive comic strip way), containing stereotypical characters such as the high school principal, teachers, coaches, and the titular student. It also included a computer that became (not was programmed to, but “became”) an avid fan of Star Trek. Suffice to say, Batiuk wasn’t breaking new ground.

*Admittedly with the help of Wikipedia’s Funky Winkerbean page.

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