Back to the grind - I mean, back to the job I love more than anything in this wide world - so it must be time to blog again. Saw many great sights in the wilds of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, including this waterfall at Lower Calf's Creek, which my companion offered me ten bucks to stand under, but even I am not that poor yet. Another great sight: the VACANCY sign in a motel window on the night it snowed, an evening on which I got quite a bit of reading done, since I was not huddling in a tent or by a roaring fire trying to pretend I was warm.
About that reading: I finished Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, thus completing one of my reading resolutions for 2009 (you're next, Roberto Bolano). I thought Gilead - written as a letter from a dying Congregational minister to his young son - was lovely, and I have to admit I wept when I finished it. I'll surely have to find time to read Home, which is not exactly a sequel but the same story from a different perspective (or so I believe, anyway).
And then, in an even greater feat, I read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, even though I had the galley of the new Lee Child thriller with me. Child is surely more vacation and airplane friendly. But Cloud Atlas is really something.
To say this wild, fat, almost psychotically ambitious novel is mind-boggling doesn't even begin to do it justice. I'd attempt to summarize for you, but I find I simply can't do it. There's just too much there.
Cloud Atlas - which is allegedly being turned into a movie, and don't even ASK me what crazy person would take on that challenge - features a series of narratives across time and the globe, all of which link in a tenuous but hypnotic manner. (Honestly, a little more tenuously than I'd hoped.) I'd been warned that the first segment was the hardest to read, but I disagree. I struggled with a later narrative in dialect, which was thrilling enough adventurewise, but the dialect frustrated me at times; I wanted to get on to the other stories.
Still, I admire Mitchell's bravado, and I really couldn't wait to get back to the book every time I'd put it down. Of course, that may have been because I had to haul myself up and down a bunch of rocks, but I give Mr. Mitchell more credit than that.