Ugh. So one of the reasons I persist with books I don’t like is because, especially with newly published books, I want to stay current with what’s out, develop opinions, think about the industry and the state of the art itself, and to keep informed and current. And sometimes I just want to know who I think is a trickster figure/con artist.
This book is not like the awfullest book I have ever read, or even close. One or so of the stories is perfectly good, and throughout the writing is fine. But it’s a book that basically keeps saying Look at Me, Look at Me, Look at Me……LOOOK OVER THERE! ~~~POOF!~~~
This book is audaciously boring and bland. It’s trying so hard to be something and to be something I dunno….not like avant garde….but tricksy or something like that. But the result is that most of the stories are boring or don’t amount to much, and the little playful ones are basically throwaway.
The one story I thought was pretty good involved an awkward would-be hookup with a German film enthusiast. And like I said it was fine.
But if your collection has lot of different stories and more than half are forgettable and one is decent…that doesn’t bode well. I think the stories here seem to have been run through the filter of other writers I also don’t like that much…or again, are fine, but are not my favorite, and the resulting mass is both less good than those writers, derivative, and annoying. And they’re annoying in part because they take up marketplace space and people who I don’t trust as promoters are promoting them. So anyway, those other writers are George Saunders (a little), Adam Johnson (a little more), and Lydia Davis (a lot more — but I actually like her work).
(Photo by Graham Webster)