Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On the Pile

And in rotation.

Just Finished: Dog by Michelle Herman. Well written and paced, although the plot was a bit too loose. I couldn't figure out why Phil the human was so important to the main character, Jill, or why Jill was the way she was. Also had some serious flaws in logic (Jill has lived in the midwest for 10 years but hasn't figured out that she needs a hat and gloves to go out in the winter? And how would her being a New Yorker explain that---as we are led to expect? It gets mighty cold in New York---just ask the unfortunate folks walking to work today.) Would have been better as a short story, in which case the plot would have tightened out of necessity and not left so many gaping holes, or as a full novel, which would have given the author the space to more fully explore Jill as a person and given more time for the Jill/Phil the Dog relationship to develop.

Now reading: Vernon God Little by D. B. C. Pierre. I'm finding it difficult to follow. The narrator, a teenage boy, speaks in the voice of a semi-educated teenage boy, mumbling through his sentences and dropping slang that reads like a foreign language. The story jumps from scene to scene, often starting in the middle of the scene, as do the conversations, with the dialogue unattributed. Characters are thrown in rapidly and with little introduction, as if we should already know who they are. Little exposition is provided to explain various references (What is the meatworks? Why is Vernon getting a haircut there? Why does it have a marching band with an elderly majorette? WTF?). I'm only 50 pages in and I feel like I need a character chart, a Vernon-English dictionary, and an annotated guide. That said, the author has skillfully dropped enough subtle hints at a mystery to keep me reading. But has anyone else read this and understood it?

New on the Pile: On Love by Alain de Botton and Behaving Like Adults by Anna Maxted.


At 11:02 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

I read Behaving Like Adults. It's funny, Anna Maxted always has these pink fluffy covers, and then there's some huge issue, like the death of a father or abortion or rape. It always catches me off guard.

I also read Dog, and found the dog more likable than the narrator.

Did you get a chance to look at Watson & Me, by the way?

At 11:48 AM , Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...

I love Anna Maxted--I have Behaving Like Adults on my list at the library!


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