32 Following


Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
God Jr. - Dennis Cooper

One of those novels I liked, but I’m not quite sure why. One of those stories that reveals itself slowly, painfully, and with a buzz on. One of those stories.

I’m going to read or reread some of the reviews from people on my lists and see if I can put it together. And if I can, maybe, perhaps, like God, Jr., I’ll tell you …sorta. Maybe. (This is where you pause in reading this review to simulate the time I spent reading other reviews)

This one came to my attention via J N-M’s review. Whether you know it or not, you’re all here to inform my reading, and N-M does as good a job at that as any of you. That said, many of you do as good a job as he does—he just beat you bringing this one to my attention. So, thank you, one and all. His advice: “if you want a weird book about grief, this is it.” Grief, it’s always so personal, so inexplicable, something that can, at best, perhaps, only be witnessed—it is always weird. So, who, other than relief workers, goes looking for grief? Simply put, readers do.

So I’m still stymied. Why does this grief story work for me, but Threats: A Novel didn’t. My interest in each case originated with the same reviewer. My rating is the same for both. With Gray’s novel, I think what I liked best was the potential she displays for an as yet untold story. With God, Jr., I have to wonder if what I like most is the narrator’s attempts to come to terms with his grief, his grief and his guilt, albeit through the construction of a video-game inspired memorial, withdrawing from the world (akin to hiding his real disability), and trying to ‘complete’ the life of his son by playing the game that seems to have mattered so much to Jr. The difference in the two novels is that one is imagined (with its artifice apparent), while the other can be imagined with its characters intact.