Books of the week: what to read - a review of new products from publishers

Author's selection of Metro for the week from February to February

Metro continues the "Book Review" column Every week we present our view on the most interesting novelties of Russian publishing houses, which will certainly not be boring

Novel of the week

Jonathan Fly The Blur 2021. EXMO

Annotation: "Blurred" is a mysterious, unpredictable novel-game. It is about people rearranging not only chips on the board, but other people as well. What are the rules of this game and whose masks will be ripped off at the end? Alexander Bruno is a professional backgammon player. He is handsome, smart, skillfully pulling money out of the rich, and he is also endowed with telepathic abilities. Recently, however, they are blocked by a spot that has appeared in front of the eyes due to a tumor growing in the head.

Our opinion: Regarding Letham, there is a common place: the best he has already written, and this is the best - "Orphan Brooklyn" (a big question, of course). Everything else is usually compared with this novel and - since 2019 - suddenly and unintentionally with the film that Edward Norton directed with his own participation. In the case of "Clouding" the maxim that "it was better before" will play one hundred percent (forgive the pun, the text about the player). In any case, it is more integral and understandable. A novelty in Russian - an adventurous tragicomedy interspersed with the supernatural (would you like a little bit of telepathy?), An atmosphere of noir and some glamor, an intrigue hinting at a thriller at the very beginning (it won't be here), a love triangle, a quick change of time zones, the conflict of the protagonist with his past (of course, traumas from childhood) and the story of a personality change. At the same time intentional. Hard? Perhaps, although everything is read very smoothly, despite all the "buts". And here they are: the author's most important problem is that the text dodges from motive to motive, as if in a drunken delirium, and leaves each one as if on purpose (in fact, it seems not) undeveloped, underdeveloped. Tails are everywhere. Someone may see modern Frankenstein in "The Cloudy", others will think that the main plot is spinning around the loneliness of the protagonist in the world of the rich, the third - God knows what else. But in any case, you can hardly figure out what the author wanted to achieve with his text. Since almost everything here remains in a half-position. So, perhaps, it can be in a novel-game. But did Lethem win?

Memoirs of the Week

Matthew McConaughey Green Light 2021 ABCs

Annotation: For the first time in Russian, one of the main book events of 2020 - "Green Light" by the famous Matthew McConaughey (Oscar winner for the leading male role in the film "Dallas Buyers Club", Rust Cole in the TV series "Real detective ", Mickey Pearson in Guy Ricci's Gentlemen), part illustrated autobiography, part textbook of life.

Our Opinion: In his autobiography, McConaughey wants to be cool and master of his life, the embodiment of the American dream. Partly by Rust Cole from "True Detective", a little - by the broken guy from comedies of his youth, and all together merge in the multi-layered figure of Pearson from "Gentlemen". The transformation of a pumped-up handsome man into a character actor and an Oscar winner is a standard timeline of his life. But someone who simplifies everything to such an ingenious plot will clearly be glad to look into Matthew's head. Green Light is more a collection of essays than a sequential novel about what kind of guy he was. And what he has become. At the same time, McConaughey is not limited to the statement of facts. The leitmotif of the book is a "collection of advice", a kind of spiritual and partly philosophical instructions for those who have not yet reached "Matthew's nirvana" (in some places they are very dubious, characteristic more of a pensioner than a 51-year-old successful filmmaker). Stylistically, he focuses on the American texts of beatniks and other classics, uses greasy images and mat, which in the Russian version seems superfluous. The book is designed remarkably - the usual text is interspersed with a stylized handwritten diary (the actor kept it for many years). However, the material leaves behind a trail of parochialism and understatement (because McConaughey very fragmentarily talks about his life and jumps over the years) and suddenly breaks off. I would like to know more about the work on his iconic projects and read less "cowboy" philosophy.

Science Fiction of the Week