Penguin Modern Stories

One shoved four is worth twelve at a push

Edited by Judith Burnley during 1969-1972

My previous reviews of older or classic books: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/reviews-of-older-books/

And other Penguin short stories here: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/26609-2/ and https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/12/26/the-penguin-book-of-the-contemporary-british-short-story/

When I read these stories, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Doctor Faustus – Sabbath’s Theater

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During my current sabbatical from real-time reviewing proper, I am due to read , with great anticipation, Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann (received for tomorrow’s Father’s Day) and Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. The Mann is one I really should have read before now, a novel about a composer, and if it is as great as the same author’s Magic Mountain (my real-time review of it here) – well, surely, it can’t be as great as that! And judging by yesterday’s completed reading of Roth’s American Pastoral (a truly powerful tale of genes with their gloves off, as I put it), then, Sabbath’s Theater looks even more strange and powerful (as a friend has told me when recently recommending Roth to me as a writer to try). Roth is a real find, I feel, for those who share a similar taste for literature as demonstrated by what I have chosen for ‘dreamcatching’ over the last six years…

I continue, meanwhile, to read, in spirts and bouts, the enormous, incomparable Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon, which will possibly take me several months to appreciate properly. I say ‘incomparable’, but if I had read it before 2005 (which I didn’t), then I would have considered it to be a certain influence on my own novel that was published in 2011.

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“Yes, wouldn’t life be so much less futile if we could do it at the scale of one-sixteenth inch to a foot?”
— from American Pastoral by Philip Roth

A Pastoral Dyncopation

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Since commencing my Summer sabbatical from gestalt real-time reviewing proper, I have been reading two amazing books: ‘American Pastoral’ by Philip Roth and ‘Against the Day’ by Thomas Pynchon, the latter being a HUGE novel in every sense, where I have, via some tentacular tales of LOST-like dynamiters, reached the end of the first section with a Jules Vernian NEMONYMOUS NIGHT-like entry into a hollow earth by the airship chums. Absolutely breath-taking, adventurous, constructively dense. Priestly Adjacency. The Roth book, meanwhile, is full of Wrath, pacy yet textured, relentless, incantatory…surely something that is capable of changing its readers lives. Genes with their gloves off. About halfway through so far in that one. Only about a tenth of the way through in the Pynchon.
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