Tempted by the latest Amazon Vine list with its offer of free books to review, I have this evening ordered the stupendously-reviewed 2666 and the intriguing "The Lieutenant" by Kate Grenville.
Here's what Amazon says about 2666.
"It was one thing to read Roberto Bolaño's novel The Savage Detectives last year and have your mind thrilled and expanded by a sexy, meandering masterpiece born whole into the English language. It was still another to read it and know, from the advance reports of Spanish readers, that Bolaño's true masterpiece was still to come.
"And here it is: 2666, the 898-page novel he sprinted to finish before his early death in 2003, again showing Bolaño's mesmerizing ability to spin out tale after tale that balance on the edge between happy-go-lucky hilarity and creeping dread."
898 pages then ... and here's the description of Kate's new book.
"As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope – against all the evidence – that he would one day find his place in life. By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales. As the newcomers struggle to establish a settlement for themselves and their cargo of convicts, and attempts are made to communicate with those who already inhabit this land, Rooke sets up his observatory to chart the stars.
"But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Rooke comes to know the local Aboriginal people, and forges a remarkable connection with one child, which will change his life in ways he never imagined.
"Based on real events, Kate Grenville’s stunning new novel conveys the poignancy and emotional power of an extraordinary friendship, and how through it a man might find himself: a story that resonates across the oceans and across the centuries. "
Sounds pretty cool. So when my current contract ends on January 30th, I tell myself I can settle back and start reading them. Amazon prioritise their Vine deliveries, so I expect the two books to actually arrive this weekend though.