The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What I’m Not Reading (Yet)

By Andrew Tibbetts

I’ve been waiting a long time for Anne Michael’s second novel. It’s been thirteen years since Fugitive Pieces. Can you believe it? There are only a few novels that I felt myself growing emotionally as I read them—The Scarlet Letter and Great Expectations—and this wonderful book is one of them. It’s also supremely beautiful. Again, only a few novels—The Autobiography of Red—manage to marry the sublime music of lyric poetry to the forward momentum of vital narrative drive and this doubly wonderful book is one of them.

So The Winter Vault is out. It’s available in bookstores. Right now. I could get up from my computer and walk a few blocks west and a few blocks south to the “World’s Biggest Bookstore” and pick up a copy.

So what’s stopping me?

I’m terrified it will disappoint. I remember being so excited for Tom Wait’s follow-up to Bone Machine, for Season Two of Six Feet Under, for Park Chan-Wook’s follow-up to Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, and for David’s Mitchell’s follow-up to Cloud Atlas. And what did I get? “Mule Variations,” Season Two of Six Feet Under, “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay” and “Black Swan Green.” Perfectly acceptable artistic creations, all! But marred in my perception by the almost fatal pressure I put on them to save my life.

Can The Winter Vault possibly be as good as I need it to be? Or, better yet, can I knock my expectations down to normal-size. Like the Buddhists say, “its expectation that creates disappointment.” And those Buddhists know their emotional causality! The placid devils!

It’s only fair to a work of art to come to it empty. To give it all the room in the world to be itself.

Stay tuned, as I try to buy a copy sometime over the next month…

2 Comments:

Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I read a great review of it in the Globe. Bite the bullet and buy!

Thu Apr 09, 12:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I did. I bought it. It's gorgeous. Enjoying it immensely. It's it's own thing and perfectly so. I shouldn't have worried.

Sat Apr 18, 06:59:00 PM EDT  

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