Thursday, July 20, 2006

Across the Golden Gate

I recently finished reading the novel Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. It's not my usual fare -- it's much more literary than the stuff I usually read -- but a friend had recommended it as "probably the finest piece of literature I've ever read" so I thought I'd try it.

It's about a group of friends living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s, and their relationships, loves, losses, etc. There is a male-male relationship, which some people may find off-putting, but the treatment of it is pretty decent -- it's one relationship among several. Some of the story is happy; some of it is sad.

But what really makes this book special is not the subject or the plot, but that the entire book is in rhyming verse. Even the table of contents, acknowledgements, and dedication are in verse! And it's not your basic iambic pentameter, either. While it's impossible to imagine the characters' dialogues happening as written, I found myself rereading paragraphs out loud just because they were so luscious to roll around in my mouth.

I got it out of the local library. You might try that, or you can get Golden Gate on Amazon.

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