Thursday, April 15, 2010

Letters to Melbourne

The Trick of It: A Novel
An unnamed university professor in UK invites the literary giant from London whose works he has been teaching. He knows everything about her, even minute details like her exact height. He's almost like a stalker, but an academic one.

The professor writes about these experiences to a friend in Melbourne. The Trick of It, then, is a collection of letters that are funny, witty, and frank. (This is the second book of Michael Frayn I've read; the first one is Spies, which I enjoyed immensely.) The reader eventually finds out that there is longing and sadness concealed beneath the otherwise happy exchanges.

The professor eventually falls in love with the literary giant and eventually marries her. She is constantly writing a book, and the professor does not know how to insert his presence in this chaotic literary exercise. John Updike, in his review of the book in the New Yorker, called it "the opposition of the creative spirit and the critical."

If I want a good laugh, I'd read this book again.

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