Books editor talks to herself at Book Club
Name: Phoebe Chambre
Age: 22 and a bit
Occupation: Music Student and Mancunion Books editor
What are you reading?
I’m in the final third of a book called The Instructions by Adam Levin. I read his short story collection (Hot Pink) which came out earlier this year in a very nice textured hardback and was immediately hooked on the paradoxical purity and directness, and complex nuance of his prose. It’s simple, but deceptively so; you never know quite how deep it runs – similarly, it feels like you never know what’s going on in his stories, yet at the same time you know exactly.
So, I had to go back and read his debut novel, The Instructions. And it’s good.
I’m almost done, but luckily have The City’s Son by Tom Polock to read next; he happens to be my cousin but coincidently I’m reading it because the cover art is so good. I have to have something else lined up before I finish a book otherwise I get nervous.
Would you recommend it to someone?
It’s a long book (about 1000 pages), and a long book tends to recommend itself because people are always eye-popping and asking you what and why you’re reading such a long book. But it’s a book nearly impossible to sum up – or maybe I just don’t know what’s happening. Read the blurb, that’ll tell as you much/little as I could.
But in short: Yes, I recommend it to you. Read it.
Is it a page-turner or are you counting the pages?
It’s actually a fairly quick read, I think ‘easy’ would be a misnomer as the book probably falls into the bracket of serious contemporary fiction, and its themes aren’t ‘easy’. But it’s written so fluidly; I think the author’s very good at rounding the edges off all the prose (but not the content) – making it as direct and natural as possible. At one point two characters discuss how writing can never quite match the way you talk, let alone the way you think. This book is surely one example of the closest that written language can get to that seamless rollover of the internal monologue – if everything I thought was that articulate and hyper-aware, that is.
Ever had a dream about a character in a book you were reading?
Well, funny you should say that. I’m pretty sure I have a few times, but most recently I had a dream about the author of a book I bought but haven’t yet read. It’s written by Bill Callahan, who is also (and mostly) a singer – hence knowing what he looks like beyond the inner jacket author close-up, which probably expediting the whole dream process. Bill was working in an office because, he told me, doing this [artistry] doesn’t really pay as much as you might think.
Paper-book or e-back?
Paper paper paper. And slightly polemically, too. Probably because I’m scared that if I got a Kindle I’d like it.