|No novel read before its time.|
Kakutani's review, at this point, hardly strikes me as a rave, but I think I understand where my friend is coming from. Tree Of Smoke was rolled out with great fanfare (much to B.R. Meyer's amusement and contempt) and had I bought and read it at the time I likely would have been underwhelmed, at the very least. Instead, I picked up a remaindered copy and let it collect dust for a few years before cracking it open and giving it a go.
This is a strategy that's worked well for me. Rick Moody's The Diviners was another such purchase. In '05 it was a Big Deal In Publishing, but I read it at least five years later, when reviewers and trend-seekers had moved on to celebrate other work (Super Sad True Love Story and A Visit From The Goon Squad, if memory serves). I enjoyed The Diviners, but I'd be careful with my recommendation -- to be honest, most days Moody's fun-with-words approach to novel writing leaves me cold. But I happened to pull this from my shelf on a day when that was exactly what I had a hankering for, and I wound up loving the book.
My attention to pro book reviewers is increasingly on the wane -- but this is a list of books enjoyed I can get behind, because it has some of that "I only just discovered this popular flavour" characteristic I can (obviously) relate to.
Donna Tartt's The Secret History (1992) is a good read -- who knew?
Personal note-to-self: Joshua Cohen's Book Of Numbers, once remaindered, is likely to find a spot on my bookshelf.