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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
The Future of Love - Shirley Abbott See the thread on Paul West's The Immensity of Here and Now. No use multiplying discussions of 9/11 fiction...

This has multiple characters intersecting, some realizing the stagnation of their own lives and pushing through it, helpfully transformed by terrorist attack into better human beings. Some are narcissists and close-minded clods, and their essential traits are (satirically?) exposed and reinforced by the events. You may recall this plot from Clare Messud's _The Emperor's Children_ (far better), Hugh Nissenson's _Days of Awe_ (better), Jay McInerney's _The Good Life_ (far worse), and Rudolph Delson's _Maynard and Jennica_ (about equivalent).

Oh, Deborah Eisenberg also does this, in a story, that besides being about 90% more concise also tends to be far more incisive than most of these other folks. ("Twilight of the Superheroes," in the collection of that name.)

It really was distressingly familiar, and I had trouble working up any sympathy for this probably-harmless and unexceptional novel. But maybe you'll love it. Still, I'd recommend Messud, maybe Nissenson--or better yet Ken Kalfus, Jess Walter, and Lynne Sharon Schwartz....