Sunday, 6 August 2006


I'm back from holiday so posting can safely resume. I read and loved The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, though I don't know it well enough to see if the author has got her own murderer wrong yet. I did spot the murderer but couldn't quite put my finger on why until Poirot helpfully explained it for me. Not having read any other detective fiction at all I have nothing to really assess it against but I will be back with more considered thoughts later. For the moment I'll just say that I liked the idea that Poirot is really this kind of bully, convincing people with bluff rather than pinpoint detection to get them to reveal things. Despite this, he is clever, and does work things out. But a lot of things we do right start off as bluff or bluster, or even as lies, and take on lives of their own from there. I wasn't a reader until I persuaded Oxford to let me study there. I haven't finished the new(ish) Houellebecq yet; as predicted it does make me feel sick: there are plenty of meditations along the same theme he set out as early as Whatever (I think) that "sex is a system of social hierarchy" and that life without sex or sex drive at least is no life at all. Very little in it is, I think, completely original - most of it, including the stuff deliberately designed to outrage Muslims and the thoughts on the decay of society, has been discussed at greater or lesser length in previous novels. In fact, I've skim read a lot of it, which is a bit disrespectful so I guess I will have to re-read this too.

I'm not impressed by England's bowling today, even if Younis and Yousof are brilliant batsmen. I was however impressed with the interest some Dutch people showed when the cricket scores were shown on the telly on the boat from Dunkirk yesterday.

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