Saturday, July 9, 2011


This novel is brilliant and sharp-edged and so clever I felt like my neurons were firing faster when I was reading it. It's sort of like a double serving of Starbucks latte, particularly chapter 9 by Jules Jones who is brilliant and manic. (Each chapter is focalized through a different character, with a distinct voice, either in third or first person.) Even her most incidental descriptions are cuttingly original. It's never ideal to take an author's words out of context because they never sound as clever but here are a few, of many: Sasha had commandeered two seats at a low table, a setup that made [her uncle] Tom feel like an ape, knees jammed under his chin. * [I wondered] how my ex-wife had managed to populate New York with thousands of women who looked nothing like her but still brought her to mind.
However, I found myself having a hard time caring about these characters--the pathological shoplifter, the schizophrenic who throws a fish onto his old friend's desk, the uncle who takes money from Sasha's mother to find her in Italy but instead spends all his time looking at art, the famous music exec who cheats on his wife with young girls hoping to make it big in the music industry. Maybe this is supposed to be a Fateful Warning to those of us who might live to see the world in the last chapter, where everyone texts instead of talks and global warming has turned New York City hot in January. Maybe it's because I'm coming off of Julia Glass, but I feel like there is very little softness, or compassion, or forgiveness in this book. Maybe that's the point.

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