Monday, March 2, 2009


Two more for the pile...

I'm going to need to get away from the New Releases section of the library. The slender books I've been picking up over there are quick reads, but so far, have mostly sucked.

Girl Factory: Jim Krusoe -Jonathan works at a frozen yogurt place at the mall. In the basement, his boss keeps beautiful women in suspended animation. Sounds promising, but doesn't really go anywhere. The characters aren't that interesting (even with a talking dog and a sort of emotionally needy boss). This might be satire, but if so, it's either too personal to the author or too opaque for anyone not working in the frozen yogurt/frozen naked girls market. There's no resolution and if Krusoe is trying to make a point about society, it's lost on me. It feels like it's just a weird book for the sake of being weird, which isn't weird; it's boring.

Salvation: Lucia Nevai -An interesting book to begin with about a deformed girl named Crane who is raised by a polygamist preacher, taken into state custody, raised by nuns (molested by a nun and taught the hula), found out to be a genius and adopted by a loving social misfit and her husband (then knocked up and rescued by her sister). It's sort of about accepting who you are. There's also a lot of stuff about ants. There are moments of actual beauty in this book, where it was reminiscent of Joyce Carol Oates and her perversely dark goodness, but Salvation kind of slips off the rails about midway through. It seemed like a nice start, with lots of wonderfully odd characters, but may have attempted to cover too much ground in too few pages. I just didn't buy the journey.

I had a motive in choosing each book (aside from obvious length). Both were written in first person, which is how I wrote my book. I wanted to see how a couple of recently published authors pulled it off. They didn't have a lot in common. The two authors styles were very different. Nevai was more descriptive and Krusoe's tone was whimsical. About the best I got out of it, as far as a writing lesson, was Nevai tended to describe around her main character, with emphasis on the secondary characters and their actions as opposed to her narrator. This would reduce "I" statements, which can grate on the reader.

Anyway, I'm reading Kafka this week. That should be cheery.

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