I just recently finished The Wonderfull Yeare by Nate Pritts. I’ve been a Nate Pritts appreciator for years now: his sensibility and aesthetic are marked by wide dynamics and big emotions. He writes about other planets and heartbreak and joy in no uncertain terms, just look at the titles of his two previous full-length collections: Sensational Spectacular and Honorary Astronaut. Exclamation points abound. But when you traffic in such wild inclusivity, where do you go next? How do you surprise? Pritts delivers maybe his best book yet by going smaller. The poems in The Wonderfull Yeare (a shepherd’s calender is the subtitle) are sonnets and pastorals, broken and reconstitued, just like the speaker of these poems. We have a four-season cycle of heartbreak, loss, and perseverance. The overall narrative is hard to make out, is barely glimpsed as is shifts and morphs like light patterns through leaves. But the emotional narrative and journey is loud by being quiet, and it packs a wallop.
Finished reading The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, and I must confess I didn’t have very high expectations for this book. My memories of the movie adaptation were dim, but once I got into it I finished it long before the rest of my class. The book itself plays off of a meta-fictional narrative, which I’m a big fan of, and includes a slew of genres from action, bits of fantasy, romance, and comedy. There is a lot going on in this book that may not be caught on the first read, from its subtle building of climax, to its inversion to all sorts of archetypes readers will be familiar with.
Having recently seen the movie again, I would say it’s pretty close to the book (the author had a hand in the script), but the book is by far (as is usually the case) better. The story takes leaps into humor that almost trick the reader into not taking the book seriously, but one should be warned that there are moments of great lows, and moments one might wish for more closure, but in all, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
If one wants to get lost in a melodramatic world filled with evil kings, revenge driven individuals, gushing love, perfect beauties, and the occasional kidnapping and death, then The Princess Bride just might be your thing.
Editor’s Notes: You can read more about The Princess Bride in J. Albin Larson’s column in the last issue of InDigest. Read Peculiar Travel Suggestions.