A rather good first novel set in pre-Spanish Mexico, involving dark gods, murder mysteries, and imperial politics. I am not overly familiar with the culture, but the level of detail was convincing to me. I do think there was a certain amount of hesitation and repetition and temporization that could have benefitted the book by its extraction. However, we expect a certain hesitancy of line in an early work.
I'm going to be blurbing this one when I think of something clever to say about it.
42.) Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain
Sadly, I suspect Professor Scarry could have been an exceptional prose stylist, if academia had not ruined her. There are flashes of very nice writing in this, an otherwise often impenetrable labyrinth of Oxford commas, vague qualifiers, and complex-compound sentences.
I disagree with a whole spectrum of her premises and conclusions (about the nature of play, about art and how it presents pain and whether it addresses pain's effects on human consciousness (I do note that many of my reflexive counterexamples to her arguments--Alan Moore, Criminal Minds--post-date this 1985 book; others however--1984, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"--do not.), about the very discussibility of pain) but it's a valuable and an interesting book and I'm glad I read it.
Sadly, I find myself feeling that her discussion of "procedural rights" (the right to vote; the right to free speech) versus "substantive rights" (the right to health care; the right to a livelihood) in the United States is just as relevant today as it was during the dark days of the Reagan administration.
Anyway, either this book or low blood sugar has made me very crabby.