I have just started ‘Spill Summer Falter Wither’ and I must say it is very good so far. I am about 50 pages in – and nothing has happened, apart from a man has adopted a one-eyed dog.
This is exactly the type of book I like – nothing happens per-se, yet the minutiae of nothing happening is described with such ferocious clarity and precision that every thing from opening a fridge to going to the shop becomes an event worthy of record in its own right. Is this not really how life works most of the time?
Many books I’ve really liked recently have large amounts of nothing happening – The Wind Up Bird Chronicles (which has a 10 page scene with a man sitting at the bottom of a well), Leaving The Atocha Station, Open City, Mezzanine (now there is a book where nothing happens – 3 page foot notes on the invention of the bend in a straw), Reading In The Dark, Hunger, Sombrero Fall Out, Tristram Shandy, The Adventures Of Augie March. You may have noticed there is a distinct lack of female author’s on that list. This was something that was pointed out to me a while ago by my girlfriend and is, in part, why I decided to start Spill Simmer Falter Wither.
The last plot driven novel I read was probably The Luminaries. I quite liked it (although it took me about 6 months to get through). I was really in awe of the plotting. How Catton managed to map out and track and weave it all together I have no idea – quite awe inspiring. But on the whole I like books where nothing happens, it seems.
And the less that happens the better.