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Ben Lerner is clearly happy to use 20 words where 2 would have done. This makes it much more challenging to read than it would otherwise be. Despite some amusing and heartfelt vignettes, I'm not sure this book repaid the effort I put in.
So, I'm at an age where I have calculated I may have time for somewhere between 200-500 books left to read. So I will give up on a book earlier than some. For this one I lasted to page 70, AND NOTHING HAD HAPPENED of any note. Just relatively random dull observations on a dull-ish life. And the author seems to have used a dictionary/thesaurus to find words in uncommon usage then strung them together into difficult to understand sentences that I occasionally read aloud to see if anyone could help me, e.g. "What you need to do is harness the self-love you are hypostasizing as offspring, as the next generation of you, and let it branch out horizontally into the impossibility of a transpersonal revolutionary subject in the present and co-construct a world in which moments can be something other than the elements of profit." If that's your thing, knock yourself out! 2 stars to be generous as I didn't finish it.
Bought it to read on holiday and wished I hadn't! If you like a book to have a beginning, a middle and an ending with characters that you can connect with, then this isn't for you. Sure, parts of it are well written (and parts not very well written!) and some passages had me gripped, but overall it was less than the sum of its parts. I had read a newspaper review where the reviewer had said this was the best book he'd read in 2014. Having now read it, I'm left to wonder what else he'd read in 2014 for this to be his 'best' read of the year? You win some, you lose some!
Thanks to the book seller. My copy arrived fast, and it is in excellent condition.
The book was an okay read. There is not much story here, and the telling isn't compelling. It does have some great moments. Overall it needs an editor with the courage to tell the author to toss out the boring parts and the incoherent mush in between the funny parts and rewrite until there is a story.
I wondered how Lerner could follow up his mostly good and funny Atocha Station. He seems drawn to gawp at catastrophes. This time it's a hurricane.He can't write a plot for toffee, it's all about Ben, and even the prose has deteriorated here, and no jokes. The poem's no good either. But the short story's ok. better written than the rest of the book by miles. I certainly hope he didn't get a big advance for this dismal stuff. I'm angry to have paid good money for this sentimental, self-indulgent, narcissistic codswallop.
No, not really. Why try to reinvent something which does not need nor can take any more revision? Lerner tries to do be a superhero when his feet will never leave the ground. He is a magician in the sense that once you know how he does it, the magic disappears.