Though relatively new, Matthew Tiffany’s blog Condalmo quickly became a must read for me – and many others, I’m guessing. With Condalmo, Tiffany strikes the essential balance between quick news items and longer, thoughtful posts that has been mastered by many of my favorite bloggers. With his entry for the “Year in Reading” series Matt asks us to believe the hype about a book that was a favorite of many book bloggers this year:
I had a pretty great year for reading – I was exposed to a bunch of new (for me) writers (Laird Hunt, Brian Evenson, Stephen Dixon, Marguerite Duras, Walker Percy), and got new books from some better known writers as well (Paul Auster, Haruki Murakami). The two newest Auster books were kind of a letdown, partially as part of “I liked the old stuff better, the new stuff sucks” syndrome, but partially also due to Laird Hunt’s The Exquisite.
In a year with lots of contenders, this one keeps on bubbling to the top – it’s got the best elements of vintage Auster, combined with some weirdness that could be culled from Haruki Murakami or David Lynch, combined with a great narrative structure. It’s no pastiche of any of those sources, but just struck the same tones of enjoyment for me as those artists do. Hunt’s got his own style; I recently read his Indiana, Indiana which has an entirely different subject matter, but the same wonderful voice. I’ll bet someone reading this is thinking “again?”, as The Exquisite has been mentioned by a number of good Web sites already, but there’s a reason for it. This one’s got the goods.