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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
People Live Still in Cashtown Corners - Tony Burgess, Erik Mohr A wee bit frustrating, but full of stray delights. An earlier Burgess novel was adapted for a winning, oddball spin on zombie narratives--and "Pontypool" illustrated the author's talent for voice. The film had a DJ with an ear for opinions and diction about 30 degrees' slant from expected, and the best thing in Cashtown is the way narrator Bob Clark, who did not direct Porky's, can spin sideways in funny, frightening turns of thought. He ponders his actions attending a customer at the gas station and notes, in an aside bracketed by commas, how he resents the word "squeegee.". I laughed, or winced, often enough to keep me going. Burgess has a biting voice and an eye for smalltown trivia.

But I was frustrated by how familiar, despite such topspin in the prose, the plotting and thematics were. Another serial killer, here less the Evil mastermind of contemporary post-Lecter myth, maybe more a distant cousin to The sheriff from Thompson's Pop. 1280, but no malice--instead he's ostensibly driven by his dissociation with reality. Yet that, too seems mere convention; Bob seems a trick of stream-of-consciousness than an alternative psychological state. (Contrast this with Lance Kerrigan's startling and unnerving--and empathetic-- film "Clean, Shaven."). Put this another way: in a creative writing exercise in college I wrote a story from a sniper's pov, and I achieved my far, far, far less successful "mind of the killer" with very similar sentence-level tricks. Bob Clark doesn't make me think differently... he just seems more construct than character.

Thanks to NetGalley and ChiZine publications for a review copy.