Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nothing to say yet, call back soon

Rather without planning to, I found myself reading the slim Netanya by not-yet-known to the English speaking world Dror Burstein. I've barely dipped into this small (both in page count and in paper size) book, one of those random spur-of-the-moment buys from several months ago and though I wouldn't be able to make any conclusions about its quality, style or point (I'm not even on page 30 yet...), I've found myself noticing small things.

For instance, Burstein writes with that mix of higher and lower class Hebrew that I've recently noticed is fairly common but done a little differently - instead of side-by-side high-brow and street-level language, Burstein opts for a casual mentality mixed with complex sentences and carefully chosen words. It's not even that the vocabulary level is higher than the average book, rather that Burstein seems to weigh the importance of every word before using it.

More interesting, though, is the presence of science in these scant pages. Netanya belongs to the weird class of memoirs that don't seem to have an underlying story, but are built on the idea of stories as a whole. So far, Burstein has told one or two anecdotes, most of them revolving around his youthful obsession with astronomy. Not something familiar in the pages of most literature. It's a bizarre way to tell a story, if this is in fact what Burstein intends to do. So far, the point of the book isn't very clear.

I don't actually have anything to say about this book, having only barely started it. Truthfully, I'm just surprised at how it threw itself at me. I was reaching for the book that was next to it on the shelf and instead I picked up this little volume. Opened it. Started reading. Sat down. Continued reading. Isn't that the magic of literature? I know next to nothing about this book. I suspect that will change within the coming days.

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