Princess Diana fictions

News.Scotsman.com, the online version of The Scotsman, has an article titled "If Diana had lived", which combines a review of a forthcoming book with more speculation on the meaning of the Diana phenomenon. This is undoubtedly a tie-in with the new public inquiry being conducted in Scotland, at the request of Mohamed al Fayed, into the car crash deaths of the Princess and al Fayed's son, Dodi. Mention is also made of the private investigation carried out by best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell, who revealed her findings on a TV show on ABC last October.
Balmoral is first being published in serial form in the Talk of the Town Sunday magazine, and will be published in book form in spring 2004. The authors are Emma Tennant and Hilary Bailey, writing under the pseudonym of Isabel Vane.

This is a literary reference to an obvious precursor novel, East Lynne (Broadview Literary Texts), published 1860, in which the narrator/protagonist has that name; she is a "lost" mother who returns to her family home disguised as a governess to care for her two sons. In Balmoral, a nurse named Sister Julia, with a more than passing resemblance to the deceased princess, comes to Balmoral Castle to tend to an injured Prince Harry. The main thrust of the book is a critique of the current state of the British monarchy, and the authors call it a "fable" wherein Diana has not died, and returns, sans the trappings and traps of royalty, to finish the job of reforming the institution and shaking up the dysfunctional Windsor family. It is also a fond homage to the splendid old Victorian romance, including the practices of serialisation and mixing fantasy with true contemporary figures.
Update: Balmoral: The Novel is now available, if you're interested.


New trends in crime novels?

Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem

It could be a new trend in detective stories, which have always tended to have a social criticism edge to them anyway (well, the good ones.) A PI or an amateur or an innocent fitted up for a crime is endowed with a little understood disability, which paradoxically gives him or her great advantage in solving the crime. In a way, it's not a new idea. Miss Marple springs to mind, the disability in this case being that she is old and single and thus subject to all kinds of stereotypical assumptions which prove untrue. And then the creation of PIs who are morbidly obese, female, black, quite old or quite young, as well as unlikely combinations, from "I Spy" (OK, they were spies, but the same idea) to Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) have captured the interests of viewers and readers and smashed stereotypes along with bigoted or just unimaginative villains.
Motherless Brooklyn (great title, don't you think?) is about Lionel Essrog, aka the Human Freak Show, who is not only motherless, but suffers from Tourette's Syndrome as well, putting him at the social bottom of his little gang of outsiders, a group of orphan boys employed by small-time Brooklyn hood, Frank Minna. Frank is murdered, and the gang tries to find out who done it and who else is in danger.
I have to confess I knew very little about Tourette's before reading this and it really raised my consciousness. I was running around trying to get everyone I know to read it, too, just because it was so well written.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was short-listed for the Booker Prize. I won't review it because I have not read it yet (but mean to soon). It concerns Christopher, a boy with autism, who is obsessed with finding out who killed the next-door neighbour's dog with a pitch-fork. From the reviews I have read, it sounds like it has a lot in common with Motherless Brooklyn, including the compassionate attempt to glimpse the inner world of the "mentally different".

An Excellent Con from Liza Cody

Gimme More, by Liza Cody 

Liza Cody is mainly known for detective novels, the Anna Lee mysteries: Dupe, Bad Company, Head Case, Stalker, Under Contract and Backhand. This is one of a handful of other novels. It's an exciting and fast-paced con-game story about Birdie Walker, an aging but still attractive rock widow who has long-standing issues with record company moguls. The bigwigs are trying to enlist her input for a retrospective film about her deceased megastar husband, Jack. She is trying to protect something but it is not clear what. Her sister, her niece, and her one ally in the business, a sound engineer who has semi-retired to New Orleans, are all drawn into the scheming and mind-games. Then the corporate bad guys up the stakes by sending in a young, naive but ambitious chancer to act as a honeypot to Birdie's niece. In the end, it turns out to be sort of a detective story after all, and has a very gratifying surprise ending.


Two Crackers from Once Upon A Crime

Blog editor note: Nowadays, Lia Matera is a friend on Facebook. Although I still have not met her in person, and we can't go out for coffee together because we live a couple of thousand miles apart, we actually are as good friends as two can be on Facebook, chatting, cross-commenting, and liking a lot of the same things. I was really honored to have her accept me as a friend, given that I am "just a fan". But it's true, her books are some of my favorites amongst contemporary crime drama.  

In a previous post, I bemoaned the lack of good, independent bookstores in most of Britain. Once Upon A Crime, in Minneapolis, is one of the type of bookstores I was thinking about. On my recent trip there for the birth of grand-daughter Savannah, I visited OUAC and purchased five books, reviews of which follow.

Bad Boy Brawly Brown, by Walter Mosley, is a book you will expect to be good if you are already familiar with Mosley's Easy Rawlins series. And it doesn't disappoint. The Easy Rawlins books are all in chronological order, so the story develops, society in multi-racial Los Angeles changes through the decades, and characters grow, change and in some cases die. This is the first novel after the death of Mouse, Easy's criminally violent but strangely endearing oldest friend. The ghost of Mouse haunts the story, plaguing Easy and giving him strength at the same time. This story takes place in the early 1970s, and concerns Easy's attempts to save a young boy from falling into a life of criminality through the strange politics of black power in that era. It is full of all the things you want in an Easy Rawlins story: tender family dramas and piercing sociological insights alternating with anatomically described fight scenes and thrilling car chases.

Star Witness, a Willa Jansson Mystery, by Lia Matera, is one in a series that is a personal favourite of mine. Willa Jansson is a lawyer with a colourful past. She is what we used to call a "red diaper baby"; her parents are 1960s radicals, her values are unashamedly leftist, and her heroes are secular and intellectual and revolutionary, like her parents. The early books in the series featured Willa working for a leading leftist lawyer and then, when he died in an early book, an idealistic legal cooperative. Now she works for a corporate firm, and so gets into those typical nineties-naughties conflicts of belief vs. livelihood. In this story, a bit of a departure, she gets roped into the world of alien abductees and conspiracy theorists, and gets herself tied up in some Gordian knots of legal ethics and personal responsibility. The thing that really shines about Lia Matera's books is the dialogue, both internal and external. I cannot recommend them highly enough.


Persia Cafe, by Melany Nielson

This is the fifth book that I bought at Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis.
This is a mystery of sorts, but it features neither a cop nor a PI nor even an amateur investigator. But a crime occurs, what we would now call a hate crime, although in the time and place of the story - Mississippi in the 1960s - such a term did not exist. The principal character is a young white woman, Fannie Leary, who runs the Persia Cafe. At the start of the story, the Persia Cafe is the only place in town to eat out or even have coffee and it is patronised by whites only. The cook, of course, is black, and in the way of white families in the South, because she has worked for Fannie's family all her life, she is in the sort of relationship with them that I will not even try to describe, because you cannot understand it unless you experience it. This is the relationship that my ex-father-in-law and others of his ilk referred to when they said "We care for our nigras," in a tone and context that made it clear that "yankees" and outsiders cared not for their own nigras and were exposing them to harm. But if a black person did something to put himself outside their "protection", well, that is a relationship that it is also hard to understand, except in terms of pure evil, the natural predatory nature of the human beast coming out.
The main arc of this story is what used to happen when a white woman did something to put herself outside the protection of the Southern white men. Fannie does not quite declare herself a race traitor (as I did myself in the 1960s in suburban Atlanta, and if I had done the same in Mississippi, I may not have grown up to tell about it.) But her crime of omission is enough to get the Persia Cafe boycotted by the white community, so in a moment of supreme courage, she invites the black community to dinner at the cafe.
What we get at this point is a great picture of a small southern community on the cusp of change. Having lived through this era and this place, I can attest that the picture is accurate and believable. Oh, and Fannie solves the crime, too, the original crime, which does turn out to be murder. This is a great story, a cut above the genre.

Two Women - A PI and A Vicar - Two Mysteries

Here are two more books that I bought at Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis.
In the Bleak Midwinter, by Julia Spencer-Fleming, is a first crime novel, featuring one of those unlikely buddy pairs that can make detective stories either really entertaining or cringingly bad, depending mostly on the writer's skill with dialogue and narrative touch with relationships. (There is an obvious intention to start a "series" here, including a taster of the forthcoming second novel.) This writer is neither the best nor the worst I have encountered, but nearer the top than the bottom, so, so far so good. The pair is a newly appointed female Episcopalian priest and a married, male, non-religious local police chief. The scene is set to bring them together by a newborn baby being left in the church porch, and the attempts to find the mother, the father or the truth about what happened to them. Extra tension is added to the relationship by a small romantic attachment on both sides, and needs to be filled that are not being met by the wife on one hand or the vocation on the other. Not at all bad for a first timer.
The Big Dig, on the other hand, is one in a long-established and well-respected series by crime author Linda Barnes. The female PI, six-foot tall, red-headed, ex-cop Carlotta Carlyle of Boston, is very much in the V. I. Warshawski/Kinsey Mullhone vein. The Big Dig is a real project, the massive engineering feat of putting all the freeways in downtown Boston underground, the "central artery tunnel", which is the largest modern engineering project in the world. And a great setting for a mysterious death that may be a murder.


Too Posh to Pluck - the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire's Cookery Book

(Blog editor note - when I wrote this review in 2003, she was still the Duchess of Devonshire, residing in the big house called Chatsworth. Since then, her husband the Duke passed on and their son inherited, and she now lives in the small dower house. She is now in her 90s and a bit of a recluse, after having had to fend off an enamored stalker when she was a late-80-something widow! One of the things not mentioned here, because most Brits either know this or don't give a toss, is that she was Deborah Mitford, the youngest of the famous Mitford girls. By the way, she has also since becoming the Dowager Duchess written a very charming autobiography.)
I really shouldn't have this in my book reviews at all; for one thing, it's more of a tourist attraction than a book, and for another, I haven't read it. But I just read Lynn Barber's very amusing review of it, and interview with the Duchess, in the Observer Food Monthly, and it made me want to look into it. The first paragraph will give you a flavour:
"It is quite thrilling for me to meet someone who knows even less about cooking than I do - especially when she is publishing her very own cookery book. The Duchess of Devonshire - for it is she - actually begins her Chatsworth Cookery Book with the words 'I haven't cooked since the war'. She says she would have liked to make that the title, but the publishers wouldn't agree. Her friend, the hairdresser in Chesterfield, told her that her writing a cookery book was 'a bit rich!' but of course it will be - being by the Duchess, it will sell like hot cakes."
There is a recipe in the book for Oeufs Mollet which the Duchess, when pressed, chooses as her personal favourite. It is a dish she was "brought up on". (Her mother, Lady Readesdale, was an avid cook and an early health food advocate, and this was one of her mother's standards.) The dish is very simple, poached eggs with fried capers and parsley, basically, but here is what Her Grace has to say about it:
"Well it's soft, you know.' What? 'Like a hard-boiled egg only soft, and you take the shell off - quite tricky sometimes. I don't think you or I could do it! And then you put butter and fried capers." Ah, bless. Is it really possible that an 80-something year old woman, who raises prize chickens and has dined in all the best houses of the world, whose own house is one of the best in the world, and who went to the Cordon Bleu (admittedly sixty years ago) does not recognise and know the term for a poached egg?
By the way, I stole the above title from the Observer review.
But even though the Duchess got most of these recipes from her cook or in some cases, her friends' cooks or the cooks for her wildly successful farm shop at Chatsworth, I think this is a good cookbook for those who like really posh food (that would be me too, reverse snob though I am) or for those who just like reading about really posh food (also me.)


Bringing Out the Dead, by Joe Connelly

Let me make it clear that this is not a movie review; in fact, I haven't seen the movie. (Well, I hadn't when I wrote this review back in 2003, but I did see it about seven years later on TV.) But I did picture it in my head as a movie (with Nicholas Cage, indeed) all the time I was reading it. In fact, this is an almost autobiographical novel, and the author, from his picture on the back, looks enough like Nicholas Cage to make it all plausible. The writing is in some ways very cinematographic, but I doubt that quite all the inner action - the fantasies, hallucinations, bizarre metaphors for the way the first-person narrator/protagonist was feeling - would have been portrayed in the film.
I found this book to be like the bastard son of The Crying of Lot 49 (the mother) and Naked Lunch (the father). Which is high praise, coming from me. Yet the romantic in me, the old-fashioned romantic who shouldn't like Burroughs and Pynchon as much as I do, wanted Frank to get the girl. And I almost didn't care which girl, whether it was Mona (recently departed wife) or Mary (ex-junkie daughter of the man who takes the whole book to die from a heart-attack) or even Rose (deceased asthma patient who haunts Frank's night-shift days.) But, you know, he didn't. Or maybe he did.


Two obscure British mysteries

For some reason I ended up reading two little-known British detective stories, both from the Nottingham Public Library, both set in the late Victorian period. [rant mode on] It annoys me no end that books like these are not available in ordinary bookstores, at least not if you don't already know about them and want them enough to order them. All the bookstores in the UK seem to be clones of one horrible bookstore, with five hundred copies of the latest Harry Potter, and lots of books about sports that I care nothing about, and loads of celebrity chef cookbooks. (And in fact I like celebrity chef cookbooks, but I don't like depressing bookstores with nothing of interest to browse.) In other words, I rarely go into even a large "good" bookstore in the UK (like Waterstones) and FIND SOMETHING, as in something that I haven't heard of before but that I am compelled to buy and read. In some ways that's good - I spend less money impulse buying, but, look, I am going to read the same amount anyway, I am just enjoying it less. [rant mode off]
The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (Peter Lovesey) refers to boxing shorts (I thought it was going to have some erotic element to it, but any that it has is only incidental to the plot.) It is quite interesting though, and you learn a lot about the sport of bare-knuckle fighting which was made illegal in the UK in the 1870s but persisted for a long time after. You also learn the origins of such expressions as "come up to scratch" and "throw in the sponge" and "throw his hat in the ring".
I didn't realise that An Orkney Murder, by Alanna Knight, was also set in late Victorian times until I started reading it. It features a way-ahead-of-her-time Scottish female private investigator. It also features an archaeological dig in the Orkneys and dark domestic secrets in a Scottish family. In the end, I got rather irritated at this book, for a reason that often applies when I am reading novels by contemporary writers set in the Victorian period. They just sound far too contemporary and therefore anachronistic. It is always a problem when writing a story set in the past to know how the people would sound, their diction, their colloquialisms, their social markers, all that. The bigger problem with a Victorian setting is that there are so many wonderful extant Victorian writers. I have read so much Conan Doyle, Dickens, Trollope and the like, not to mention my favourite childhood novels Little Women and Black Beauty, which I must have read 100 times each, that it is a very rare historical novel from that period that doesn't sound horribly false to me. But this one was egregiously so. But if you don't have my problem, you may be able to enjoy it, if only for the plot (which was only pretty good) and the main character.
The Lovesey book was, for me, a far better read, even though I have little interest in the Victorian London underworld and bare-knuckle fighting, and lots of interest in Victorian Orkney and archaeology and women private detectives. Just goes to show what a huge difference writing style, careful research and natural talent can make.
Update from 2013: I just finished another Peter Lovesey book featuring the same detectives. It's called Wobble To Death and centers around the sport of marathon walking. These bizarre sporting events featured men getting around a track as fast as they could for as many hours per day as they could in a period of six continuous days. They all start at the same time and finish at the same time, and whoever finishes and has the most total miles logged wins. 


American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Mythology, fantasy, an adventure story, an allegory. A young man named Shadow went to prison, mainly to protect his beloved wife Laura from being implicated in the crime she planned and he unwillingly participated in. Just before he is to be released, Laura dies in a car crash, along with his "best friend".
Shadow is only out of prison a short time when a mysterious but compelling older man named Mr. Wednesday latches onto him, doing him favours, but also setting him extremely difficult tasks. Through Mr. Wednesday, Shadow meets more bizarre characters, many of whom have the strange character traits of Mr. Wednesday. Gradually, Shadow figures out that they are gods, gods who have followed their worshippers to America, only to find that their religions fade away or are absorbed into the folk traditions of American life.
If you liked Sandman, you will definitely like this. It has the feeling of some of the more compelling sub-plots in Sandman, but is developed fully as a novel. Very highly recommended. Also, you can read long complex discussion threads about this and other Neil Gaiman works at the message boards on Neil Gaiman's Journal.

NB: These are still the British blog originals, so please excuse the spelling.

2013 Update: They are making a film of this book. I know nothing more for now.


A very sad novel that may make you laugh a lot - Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Another first novel written in a funny dialect! But it is much more than that. Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel concerns a journey through the Ukraine by a young man named Jonathan Safran Foer. He is trying to find the Ukrainian woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. The main narrator of the story is Alex, a Ukrainian teenager. Also on the trip are Alex's grandfather Alex and a flatulent dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Alex's prose style, in his letters to Jonathan after the trip, which carry the main weight of the story, is quite controversial amongst readers and reviewers, most finding it a bit too much. I was annoyed by it at first but it began to grow on me.
Interspersed with the main story of the trip are excerpts from the magical realist novel that Jonathan is writing, which is based on old historic legends about the now non-existent village where his grandfather lived, and Alex's commentary on the fragments of the novel. There are a lot of secrets and mysteries in the stories, and Alex's grandfather Alex seems to hold the key to them. But he is unable to remember, let alone talk about, what he knows.
This really is an unmissable novel, and one that you may want to re-read several times.


Books I read in 2003 as part of Nottingham Public Library virtual book club

Editor's Note: This post is a collection of separate posts from the very beginning of my now defunct book blog, Deborama's Books. I wrote these posts in England, and while I resided in England, I spelled things in the English manner. I have decided to leave the spelling as it is. It's not pretentiousness, just consistency.

War Crimes for the Home, by Liz Jensen
Gloria is very old, and everyone assumes that it is senility that makes her so cantankerous, and possibly forgetful.
But during the war, Gloria was young and pretty and in love. After the war she has a beloved son, who is the spitting image of the handsome groom in her wartime wedding picture. So what happened to that dashing young American who left her with a child? And why can't she remember? Or does she remember and just refuse to face it?
Now her son is middle-aged, and he has found a slightly older, middle-aged woman who believes she is his sister. As the two of them visit Gloria in the old-age pensioners' home and try to ferret out the truth, a strange story keeps coming up: a story about Gloria and her American beau and a hypnotist and his pretty, but ruthless, assistant. . .
War Crimes for the Home is unique, engaging, and oddly uplifting, with its coarse humour, its unflinching story, its flawed but lovable heroine and its wonderfully twisting exposition. I recommend it heartily.

The Death of Vishnu, by Manil Suri
Vishnu is dying on the staircase of a crowded apartment building in Bombay. He has been living on the staircase, a coveted location, and paying for the privilege by running errands for the more favoured residents. As he lies in a fevered condition, two worlds swirl around him, the real world and the dream world of his memories and fantasies.
The real world is the tiny but populous world of the apartment block, where a man mourns his dead wife, two housewives fight over their shared kitchen, a Muslim householder dreams of founding a new religion to unite Hindus and Muslims, and his son schemes with the daughter of Hindu neighbours to elope in a style befitting the Bollywood movies she loves.
Vishnu's dream world is also full of wishes and longings, and memories of his love for the beautiful but (almost always) unavailable Padmini. Vishnu's mother comes back to him in memory, reminding him he is a god, and he begins to believe that he is. As the apartment residents step past Vishnu's semi-conscious body, only sure he is not dead because of his occasional stirrings or faint cries, he becomes a touchstone for their own compassion, beliefs and self-images. This is a strange and beautiful story, beautifully told.

The Rotters' Club, by Jonathan Coe
I imagine that anyone who grew up in Britain in the late 1970s would really identify with this book. There were parts that I really identified with myself, even though I grew up in the US, in the south, and about 10 years earlier. But then there are the cultural milestones, as opposed to personal ones, and in the milieu of this book, the five protagonists are beset by the demise of the industrial base in the Midlands and the IRA terror campaign, among other things. Whereas my high school years were stamped (upon!) by the virulent white opposition to racial desegregation and the Vietnam War. So, not so different, really.
The protagonists are a gang of four schoolmates and the older sister of one of them. (The Rotter's Club of the title is Ben Trotter and his beloved big sister, Lois, whose names are of course mutated by classmates into Bent Rotter and Lowest Rotter.) The other three boys are Anderton, the class-conscious one whose father is a shop steward, Harding, the edgy rebel, and Chase, the aspiring journalist.
The four boys are trying to form a band for most of the book, and it self-destructs as soon as it is formed. One boy goes to London and gets sexually initiated by a posh young woman several years his senior. The shop steward is in the throes of an affair that can only end badly, and he is trying hard to keep his family in the dark. Another boy's mother has an abortive affair with a teacher. Industrial tension simmers, somebody gets blown up in a pub, somebody else spends several years mute because of the loss of a loved one. There is a lot happening in the book and you get swept up in it, but it is sort of hard to keep track, the cast of characters is so large and lifelike.

Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
This book is all about suspense . . . and lesbian sub-text, of course. Therefore, I must stop myself from saying too much, as I do not want to create even a hint of a spoiler.
The story concerns two girls. Sue Trinder is brought up as an orphan in Lant Street, London, amongst petty thieves and fences and con artists, sheltered somewhat by her unofficial guardian, Mrs. Sucksby. Maud Lilly's earliest memories are coming to consciousness in a madhouse, and then after the death of her inmate mother, being given to her creepy uncle who lives in a grand but isolated house. Maud's uncle uses her as a clerical assistant in his shadowy literary enterprise. Sue is persuaded by a con-man she knows as "Gentleman" to pose as a lady's maid to Maud in order to swindle her out of her inheritance. But nothing is as it seems . . .
If you love a good mystery, or a Victorian romance, or if you have lesbian tendencies and can take a really long tease if the culmination is worth it, then this is a book for you.

Buddha Da, by Anne Donovan
This is the first novel, but the second book, by Anne Donovan, and is something I read as part of a Nottingham Public Library programme called Book Chains. (Donovan's first book was a highly regarded short story collection.)
The most noticeable thing about this book, which presented quite a challenge to me as an American, is that it is written in a Glaswegian Scots dialect, except when the few non-Glaswegians are speaking. It is told from three points of view, Jim, his wife and his 12 year old daughter Anne Marie.
Jim, for reasons not clear even to him, decides to take up meditation with some Tibetan lamas in the Buddhist Centre in Glasgow. As he progresses on his baffling spiritual journey, he gives up meat, alcohol, and sex with his beloved wife, Liz. Liz is caring for her ailing mother, wishing she could have another child before she is too old, and just trying to get on with life, and understandably sees Jim's behaviour as self-centred in the extreme. Anne Marie has the most adult attitude of the three of them, and is carrying on with growing up, ditching old friends, picking up new ones, and producing an award winning CD combining Latin chant with Tibetan Buddhist chanting and Indian house music. In the end, it is the body rather than the spirit that resolves all these conundrums, leading the little family to a whole new spiritual plane. This is a lovely and engaging book, highly recommended.

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
This book is one everyone is talking about, possibly because it won a prestigious award (the Man Booker). It is very absorbing, and the main character is one of the most likeable in all the fiction I have ever read (and that's a lot.) I don't know if the last two chapters are supposed to be a surprise, so I won't say anything specific about them, except to say that there was something of a let-down for me in the unresolvedness of the ending. It didn't seem right to me that a book so drenched with humanity and wisdom should have this little escape clause in it (if that's what it was.) Still, I strongly recommend this book.

River of Darkness, by Rennie Airth
Editor's Note: I did read The Blood-Dimmed Tide.
River of Darkness, published in 2000 to an enthusiastic critical reception, is noted for "blend[ing] the traditions of the golden age mystery with elements of the contemporary psychological suspense novel." The story is set in 1921 and concerns a psychopathic serial killer and a Scotland Yard detective inspector. Both are survivors of the Great War. The detective inspector went into the war as an idealist and came out the other end fighting against cynicism and deeply scarred, with no expectation of ever being happy again. The killer went into the war already a psychopath and found a hellish paradise in war and a vocation that, with a few grisly props and a reliance on his training, will last him for life. From this chilling premise, Aird builds an absorbing tale of a cat-and-mouse game with enough twists to keep anyone guessing. The story is lightened up with a young novice constable's awkward coming of age in the force, and his hero worship of the main character, DI Madden, as well as a redeeming love interest and a few brilliant comic touches. There is a sequel, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, set 11 years later, which I plan to read soon.