I recently finished Tracy Ryan’s Jazz Tango, a fascinating novel about what happens after the fairtytale wedding of a working class girl to her ‘prince’, a member of the elite Oxbridge set. What I liked best about Tracy’s novel was its capturing of the patterns of thought, the strayness and whimsy of our minds. We read everything Jas, the protagonist is thinking, from the banal to the profound, and it’s the juxtaposition of these which is so compelling. All our best thoughts are embedded in mundane situations, whether it’s social awkwardness in a cafe or being stuck in traffic. The novel deliberately invokes the spirit of the great women modernists, and carries on their tradition of stream of consciousness, something which makes me glad. (All these great movements of the past which are not fashionable any more… horrible thing, we could do with a few more attempts at Mrs Dalloway or Ulysses.)
Tracy and her husband John Kinsella have a fascinating blog called Mutually Said : Poets Vegan Anarchist Pacifist. John, like me, is a big fan of Philip K. Dick and has some fascinating comments on PKD in a recent post.