It’s hard to spell out exactly what this book is, but in a lot of ways it reads like a well-crafted Twitter account. That’s not a knock or a limitation, because the book is presented in 100s of mini-musings, mini-narratives, floating bits of conversation, passing moments, and other little snippets of life. So the effect is almost trying to piece together someone’s life from a Twitter account that you’ve joined well into the lifespan of the account.
The book, though, as interesting as all that is, is not that compelling to read. Or at least, I didn’t find it so. So for a relatively short novel — 175 pages– I found it more of a drag, because of the fractured nature of the story. It’s the kind of book that I might read and reread for a class or to better make sense of what I read, but not one that I expressly enjoyed.
So this novel was published in 1976 by Renata Adler, whose nonfiction I tend to find very compelling. If you want to read a completely savage takedown of another writer (it’s mean, but…) find her review of a collected book of Pauline Kael’s film criticism, which takes it to absolute task for being more poorly written facile journalism.
But also, this novel also feels like the kind of self-absorbed narration you might expect from a nonfiction les enfants terribles kind of figure from the 1970s in the first place. I am more interested in finding more of her nonfiction than her fiction after this one.