[books] As heavy as a six-pack of beer

Hunger's Brides: A Novel of the Baroque, by first-time author Paul Anderson, is 1,376 pages long and weighs 4.5 lbs. Does that make me want to read it? Yes and no. Yes, because I occationally like a long, satisfying story. No, because it's so heavy. I don't want to hoist it off the night stand, drop it on my chest ("Oof!") and pretend to read as my ribcage slowly cracks under the pressure. I loved Michal Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, but I had to read the whole thing (a) sitting at a table or (b) on my stomach on my bed. PLUS, the Amazon discounted price is the same as a regular, non-discounted hardcover. What to do, what to do?!?!

"The plot of Hunger's Brides revolves around Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the 17th-century Mexican poet and nun whose vow of silence at the age of 40 was signed in her own blood. Her life and work have inspired writings by Octavio Paz, Robert Graves and Diane Ackerman.

But the book is more - much, much more - than an extended piece of historical fiction. It is also the story of Beulah Limosneros, a graduate student who immerses herself in the study of Sor Juana, and Donald Gregory, her professor and a serial adulterer. And in addition to narrative fiction, it is told in the form of poetry, dramatic plays, letters and notes in the margins." -- NY Times


Anonymous said...

Well, I just got home from the Edinburgh festival to find the new trade paperback edition from Random House of Canada, out next week. It's so much lighter that I quickly checked to see they hadn't excised the final 500 pages.

They hadn't.

As far as the hardcover goes, the sewn binding allows the cognoscenti to prop the book and read it hands free...

Best wishes,
Paul Anderson

amy said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. I'm heading up to Canada this coming weekend, but Amazon.ca says that the paperback isn't out until September 13. Looks like I'll have to get the hardcover, which is okay because now I don't have to renew my gym membership.