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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
Everything Matters! - Ron Currie Jr. About 2/3 of the way in, the Voice which besets Junior Thibodeaux all his life--foretelling the end of the world but also giving him tips on how to behave, secret details of other people's histories, even at one point a missing ingredient for a medical cure--this Voice says that it's going to explain the meaning of everything to him.

That's some big-ass narrative chutzpah right there.

Currie's book flirts with disaster literally and figuratively. It's structured as a countdown, interwoven with events from different points of view. It has rampant alcoholism and drug abuse, the Challenger explosion, the fourth-smartest person in the history of the world, terrorism, cancer, Ted Williams, the cure for cancer, secret agents, and (yes) the end of the world (twice). It manages to deploy this heavy-handed mix of plot devices without a) sinking into smirking irony or b) sludging through Tragic Meaningfulness. It's about the meaning of life, and gives you that meaning in the title, and then it spends 300 pages seducing you into really, really, really believing that title. It's funny. It's sad. Even when it's showing off it seems down to earth.

It's great.