Swiss Alps discussed on The Book Review

The Book Review


I am finally ready for the lockdown novel after almost two years of resisting it. And this one is not pandemic related as it was first published in 1979. But it certainly going to feel familiar, the story is that an aging man is trapped at home in the Swiss Alps as this terrible storm is raging around him. And there are reports of landslides and he's cut off from others. But at first the stakes seem relatively low. He's just kind of hanging out at home building houses out of crackers and reading. It's kind of a collage like novel. It's written in this fragmentary form that is come in vogue in recent years. But at the time, I think was quite unusual. We get inventories, snippets from the encyclopedia about whether and dinosaurs and geology. And at one point, he sets off from his house to try to make it through a mountain pass, but he turns around and then heads back to the house. And we start to learn, we learn a few things that is mind is starting to go and he seems to be prone to blackouts. And that the landslides are a lot closer and a much bigger threat than he thinks. And so we slowly start to realize that his situation is far worse than he seems to understand. And so the suspense slowly starts to build. But this isn't really a suspense novel. It's much more a book about the banal creep of mortality and about life being reduced to facts and gestures and just pure concrete details once our memory start to slip from us. As he's starting to he's reading about ground erosion and mass extinction and glacial melt and we get the sense of the inevitable, the era of humankind, the holocene is going to go of the way of the dinosaurs. This book may be fits all too well, the cliche of the late career novel. It's short, it's formally strange, obsessed with mortality, but I'm finding it no less profound. And it's quite short. So it can be released from lockdown fairly quickly. Well, I love a good book about the banal creep of mortality. That's right. Me too. What are your other top? Topics in that sub sub sub genre. That is a good question about that. You know, so interested in this notion of during a very anxious time the number of people who seem to be taking some kind of pleasure, refuge, solace or whatever in books that to me would increase my anxiety. And I'm really interested in why this appeals to you right now. You know, I felt the same way for two years as I was previewing books that were starting to come out about the pandemic about lockdown books. And I just had this sort of visceral repulsion. I just could not. I just didn't want to read it because I was experiencing it, and I just, you know, it was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to escapism..

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