Only one book was awarded 9 stars, which was Samuel Beckett’s Murphy. 11 were given 8 stars, of which the pick are Frederick Rolfe’s The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole (together with Symons’ The Quest for Corvo), Miguel Angel Asturias’ The President, and Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone (vol 1).
Most overrated book is a close race between Melville’s Moby Dick and Joyce’s Ulysses; they both have their merits, I guess, but those merits certainly come packaged with a good few demerits. Obviously the honours should be given to Ulysses, considering the regard it is shown. (Last year, of course, Kafka’s The Trial edged out Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, so I take 2014’s conclusions as nothing unusual).
Favourite film was definitely Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri, a remarkable indictment of the Samurai ethic (with a wonderful final battle scene) which I feel I should have gone on about a little more at the time. It doesn’t even merit a place in 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die, though appears a well known classic to students of Japanese cinema.
Other Blog Stats
And what of you, dear reader?
Well, there are less of you this year, for a start – which no doubt is my fault for putting up less posts (especially these last few months).
As every year, you were overwhelmingly (6x) more interested in my Writers Nabokov (Dis)likes page than anything else. – I suppose it’s useful. – I’m again pleased that my second most visited page is my review of Rudyard Kipling’s short story Lispeth; and also that my investigation into the similarities between Sarah Hall’s short story Mrs Fox and Garnett’s Lady into Fox came fourth (I predicted at the end of last year this would disappear without trace) – with my much-googled page on the made-up characters in Bartleby & Co. in between.
As for most visited novel reviews, you can tell from the list below how much I’m benefiting from my general obscurantism in search engine queries:
- The Vortex, by José Eustasio Rivera
- Yawar Fiesta, by José María Arguedas
- The President, by Miguel Angel Asturias
- Chapter the Last, by Knut Hamsun
- The Tosa Diary, by Ki no Tsurayuki
The first novel by a living English-language writer comes only seventh, which challenges my belief that people are only interested in contemporary fiction; obviously they prefer hard-to-come-by Latin American classics. It’s clear the best strategy for next year will be to review more short stories and obscure classics.
Oh, and there isn’t any Obooki Prize being awarded this year: nothing I read (and I’m not sure I did read much that would qualify anyway) seemed up to the necessary standard.