It's not fair! I wanna play!
Sam, Sandra, Steve and Stefanie have been comparing their obsessiveness (posting lists of multiple volumes in their collection by or about single authors). My books are all over the place (in storage in Oxford, at my parents' house, in sealed boxes in the in-laws's loft, in the flat ...) so there is no way I can count, no way I can join the game! My list would look more like Steve's than Sandra's, as you might expect, but until the day when they are all in one place, I'll never know.
What drew me to this novel, of course, was its extraordinary title. I remember reaching for it on the library display in January 1986, the day of my birthday in fact. The book could easily have been like the movie: shallow and pretentious. And it probably got its notoriety anyway for its promiscuous sex and political sexiness rather than its literary daring. What made the book extra special for me - took it beyond the merely fashionable - was the way it began. Yes, there’s the opening section on Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence (which I didn’t understand), but more importantly for me there’s also the passage where Tomas is introduced looking out of a window, introduced, that is, looking out of a window as seen through the writer’s imagination; not as an obvious figment or a postmodern plaything, but a living presence who begins the narrative. This simple moment of honesty felt like a gift; the key to the door.