The King is Dead – Sarah Shankman

In which we’re somewhat lonesome tonight.

A little sick of unsatisfying travelling companions, I followed Native Stranger with a Sarah Shankman (her of I Still Miss my Man but my Aim is getting Better fame) novel I picked up in Fjærland called The King is Dead. It’s a sort of a crime novel, and very entertaining. It reminded me, not only of how much of my reading has concentrated on the British Isles, but how much of what isn’t British is set in either the midwest (Minnesota and such) or in the Pacific north-west (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia). The southern themes of Shankman’s novels feel almost alien at times (what with all the Elvis impersonators, it almost is). The dialect certainly is. I also find myself getting the characters mixed up because of the similarity (to me) of their names, as if they were all called Billy-Sue and Billy-Bob (though, in fact, there wasn’t a single Billy). I hadn’t realised before quite how the regional nature of names actually affects the «feel» of a story. It’s the literal equivalent of «all chinese people look identical» – a fallacy which is true only in cases of unfamiliarity (did that make any sense whatsoever?). Whatever. I want to read more Shankman. I also want to read more «Southern» books, once I get over this Scottish phase. It was a timely reminder of how large (and diverse) the North American continent is. I have been thinking that I ought to read more books not written in English. Evidently, I ought likewise to consider some of those traditions in English literature that I have obviously been ignoring.

So much to read, so little time.