Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Book that Broke the Three-Year Streak

Three years ago, my wife gave birth to twins. Fatigue followed Joy followed Excitement followed Anticipation followed Fear and so on. Cute kids, huh?

I know. But my reading habits changed (as did many other parts of my life, of course).

After a year or so of denial, we let the wasted New Yorker subscription lapse. I read more non-fiction, especially books with short chapters. I started but didn't finish more and more books. To be fair, I more or less gave up on movies, too--only one-hour episodes of The Wire or such could be squeezed into a day.

And for three years, I did not read a single book in one sitting. No book could keep me from turning off the light at a reasonable hour, knowing the "alarm clock" sleeping in the next room would go off every morning at or before 6:00 am whether I stayed up late or not.
But last week, I saw this review on the front page of the New York Times Sunday Book Review. When a Finnish first novel in translation merits the front page of this revered rag, I pay attention. And when the novel is short, I grab it right away. So I did.

And a few blessed hours later, I exhaled and finished The Book that Broke the Three-Year Streak: When I Forgot by Elina Hirvonen.

It's terse, gripping, intense. I humbly suggest you stop depriving yourself and buy a copy at the locally owned independent bookstore of your choice. Here's mine. Or here are some others.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

I want to read it. The last short Norwegian novel in translation I read was Out Stealing Horses and it was beautiful. So, you know, maybe they're on to something over there.