Well, it’s over. Summer, that is. Another tumultuous summer: Eventful, slow, mostly spent indoors. I’m about fifty pages from finishing Ferrante’s final novel of the Neapolitan series, and while it’s riveting, it’s also a huge disappointment, so enormously off kilter as to make me question the lasting value of the previous books. Simply: She externalized the conflict and made it so dramatic as to obscure what it means to be human. In the new book, the humanity of characters, and of readers by implication, is defined by huge tragedy. While that’s no doubt true, fiction diminishes when the external conflict becomes of greater interest than the psychology or spirit or the characters.
Meanwhile: Is there anything better than cold buckwheat noodles at home? Dipped into a mirin-soy sauce? Or grilled chicken wings in a similar sauce? Both sprinkled with a yuzu-pepper spice.
Between Ferrante and noodles and chicken: Latest piece on Japan in Travel+Leisure last week about onsen: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-japanese-ryokans. My book about India? At the publisher. Novel revision? Check. Research on Plainfield riots? Check.
Now if there was some place decent to eat in this town for dinner we’d be all set. The round-up: Giulia, Babbo Pizzeria & Enoteca, Pastoral, Bar Boulud.