So Lucky is a short novel, so the other day when I read a list in LitHub of the shortest novels by writers we should, apparently, all read, I paid attention.
Some of those twenty short books I immediately assumed I had read—Virginia Woolf, Thomas Pynchon, Ernest Hemingway—but on reflection it turns out I haven’t. So now I think I might, certainly Woolf. After all, at 176 pages, even if it sucks I wouldn’t have wasted much time.
However, on the basis of the five I have read:
Sula, Toni Morrison 192 pp
Train Dreams, Dennis Johnson 116 pp
Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin 159 pp
Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen 220 pp
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien 300 pp
I’d say the odds are good that the short work of the three I mention could be as good as or better than their longer work. Short packs a powerful punch, and no matter how different from the rest of the author’s ouevre the book may seem, I think you still get a taste—an echo, if you like, or maybe a harmonic—of that writer’s concerns.
So Lucky is short (192 pp) and I designed it as a spear-thrust of a novel rather than the learn-by-immersion of, say, Hild, or the cool, machined elegance of The Blue Place. But several people have already said they see echoes of both Hild and Aud in these pages. So I’m looking forward to finding out what others think.
For those of you who like audio here’s an extra incentive: I’m narrating it myself. Macmillan Audio has booked me in at Clatter & Din in SoDo where I started on Friday. I have a dynamite engineer, Eric (and Sam when Eric can’t be there) and very clear, very helpful producer/director Matie Argiropoulos. I’m having a blast. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the high-tech, high-rent, loft vibe of a downtown studio—though I’m getting a wee bit tired of chamomile tea and the taste of honey…