I am going to write this review in two parts. First, my impressions solo, and then a follow up addition after a conversation with my friend. We decided to do a two-person book club. I sent him a list of 5 books, he sent me a list of 5 books, and then we each selected 2 of the other person’s to read. The idea was to pick books we’d had on our lists for a while and get some help pushing through them. This book was on my list and he selected it.
My friend and I discussed this book and we had a few divergent ideas on what’s going on. For one, I thought of this book as a kind of arena for ideas, with false borders put on everything, the heat turned up and just letting the situations themselves play out. But, I also felt like the book didn’t necessarily have a lot to say.
The basic premise is that a young guy wake ups, hooks up with a lady in the woods, stumbles into a kind of post-apocalyptic town, and then becomes the center of attention. He’s a kind of proto-protagonist who is lauded for everything: his intelligence (he’s not really that smart by the way), his art (he’s both a fraud and a hack), his sex life (seems legit), and his violence/leadership skills. He meets a bunch of random people and they talk about love and sex and life and death and violence and art and politics. And nothing much happens. The final section of the novel is basically a rehash of everything that came before but with commentary from the Kid — the would-author.
Over all, the novel feels like a 25 year old boy showing up in the world and thinking he’s discovered everything. I am not sorry for having read it. It’s a little boring at times. It’s, well, it’s a lot of thing.