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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
Sharp Teeth - Toby Barlow I enjoyed this--swallowed it almost whole, in two sittings--but perhaps was a bit overhyped . . . or just less sold by the merits so wonderfully, persuasively pitched by GR reviewer extraordinaire David Giltinan. David's review is better than mine will be, and I'd mostly echo his attention to the way the form (the reduction, like a strong broth, of a pretty straightforward noir-horror mashup to a punchy free verse) generates a propulsive rhythm. The book zips along, 'though I fear it felt more like a film--imagistic, collagistic, full of snappy dialogue and concise compositions--than the form might at first have suggested.

I guess I thought that the poetic form would amplify attention to (and precision of) language, and occasionally Barlow snarls and bites. But sometimes he whimpers: at one point, he talks about someone moving with the fluidity of water, a phrase that uncomfortably reminds me of the wordiness of language. I guess I was startled--after the high-wire tease of free verse and the high-concept tumble of his werewolf mythos--by how conventional the whole thing really was. There's nothing wrong with that: I enjoyed the read, and recommend it happily. But it didn't blow me away, as it did so many others. (Go read David's rave; a strong positive always beats a middling appreciation like this one.)