Saturday, November 22, 2008

The New Julia Glass Novel

This review of I See You Everywhere is spot on, so I do not need to write the long post I was going to write. I will simply say, in agreement, that the unpleasantness of the characters makes the book essentially unpleasant, despite some lovely writing (along with some real clunkers). Similarly, I did not like the way the characters have no women in their lives besides each other, and their narratives progress largely from man to man, but I realized eventually that those were character flaws, not writing flaws, though on the other hand I'm not quite sure of the interest-value of writing such characters, at least for me. Finally, and here I am definitely speaking for myself, the animal thing does nothing for me as a reader, and in fact turns me off. Glass's novels are increasingly full of animals, and I am persistently uninterested in animals, even bear cubs undergoing cardiac surgery, after long discussion of whether it is the right thing to perform cardiac surgery on bear cubs.

Edited to add: OK, I guess I do have more to say, which may be a positive comment, in that it is a thought-provoking book, except that the thoughts it provokes have to do less with its content, than with questions over the success of its form. Anyway, perhaps it is that I read it this week, but I felt that there was a fundamental narrative dishonesty in the book's treatment of suicide, not on the part of the one left behind, whose response was thoroughly convincing, but in having a first-person narrator (the book has two) commit suicide with barely any foreshadowing. Oh god, I can't explain what's wrong with that--I mean, I know, but I really don't feel like writing about this book, so I'll just leave it at the fact that I found it to be a problem.

1 comment:

addy said...

I almost requested it at the library last week but I think now I won't. Thanks.