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196 entries have been written about this.
A story about "By Nightfall: A Novel" — 2 years ago
Some thoughts on this:
I read afterward that this is an homage to Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, which I haven’t read. The text is liberally peppered with literary allusions. One character is reading Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, which Mann intended as a satirical counterpoint to Death in Venice. Knowing this adds some interesting shading to the plot/characterizations. Other references are to The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina and more I’m sure I don’t remember. Also, there are lots of allusions to art, both classical and contemporary. This can come off as a bit pretentious on the author’s part. I liked the book nonetheless.
The best bits occur when the author is taking us through New York City — by train or cab or on foot in the middle of the night. There is a sense that everyone in the city is merely play-acting their lives. There are buildings where people do something in finance or the arts — no one is sure exactly what they do. But once this was a city of accomplishment, of industriousness and real work — all faded or decayed or overlaid with something a lot less meaningful. There is a sense that 21st-century humankind is not worthy of this city.
A story about "Hoptoad" — 2 years ago
I wish I had a copy of this book. It’s the first book my toddler memorized and “read” back to us.
A review of "The PowerBook" — 2 years ago
I was never quite sure what the point of this book was the whole time I was reading it. I recognized that the title and several chapter heads referred to Macintosh computers, but there really was no computer in the book. Instead, there was a series of loosely joined stories, some based on legends from the past, some bordering on fairy tales, and others slices of present-day life.
The center of the story is a rather mundane lesbian love affair. They desperately love each other, want to be together, can’t be together, then maybe… But the meat of the book is lost in a lot of filler that, while sometimes engaging, ultimately never gets into that bigger something it’s trying so hard to be.
A review of "The Hollow Man" — 2 years ago
I was torn in two by this book. Half of it – the half dealing with perception and parallel worlds and whether there’s life after death – I really liked. But the other half really turned me off, and not just because it was, in some parts, so totally disgusting. You see, the actual events of the book – rather than the flashbacks – are supposed to represent one man’s descent into metaphorical hell and rise back out after the death of his wife. This man also has the ability to read other peoples’ thoughts, but his wife was the only person with whom he could communicate back and forth telepathically, so after her death, he is exposed to the darkest thoughts that people hide, because he is in the dark himself. Okay, it’s a very nice concept – it just wasn’t executed very well. The hellish events that the man goes through – escaping from New York mobsters in Florida and Vegas, living on the streets in Denver, working for a female serial killer who tries to kill him with a special set of razor-blade dentures – are just so unbelievable that they become laughable, and the whole carefully constructed metaphor falls apart. But on the other hand, the flashback scenes and the theories about perception and parallel worlds (and I’m sure you’re wondering how all that fits into the plot) are intriguing and very believable, and the scene at Disney World is wonderful. So I can only just barely recommend this book, but my recommendation has to be lukewarm at best.
My toddler is teaching himself to read with this cute book about bugs building a house for themselves from a tennis ball they found.
A review of "Eating Crow: A Novel" — 2 years ago
A light fluff novel about a restaurant critic who – after a chef kills himself following a particularly harsh review – discovers the joys of apologizing and eventually becomes the chief apologist for the United Nations, expiating the sins of the Western world—everything from slavery to colonialism to corporate monopolies. There is a very interesting account of a chocolate-themed dinner for all the foodies in the audience, plus an elaborate apology lunch demanded by a Jesse Jackson-like character as part of the slavery apology.
A review of "The Hollywood Dodo: A Novel" — 2 years ago
Yes, Nicholson pens some strange novels, but sometimes that bizarreness is just not enjoyable. This is one of those times. The story cycles through three points of view, between the 1600s and the present day, but unfortunately, I did not very much enjoy spending time with any of the POV characters. The story itself is also rather preposterous, as it attempts to link the dodo with modern moviemaking, while throwing in some supernatural gobbledygook to help tie things together, and ending with a denouement that is wholly unbelievable and unsatisfying. I think I prefer Nicholson’s nonfiction.
A review of "Getting It in the Head: Stories" — 2 years ago
This is an odd and sometimes disturbing collection of short stories that quite often cross the line into a dark, surreal world indeed. While a few of the stories were just OK, and one or two were ridiculous, enough rose into the realm of the superb to make this collection worthwhile for any connoisseur of twisted fiction.
McCormack’s characters are often sick and sometimes deranged, and the world he imagines, while still recognizable, quite often descends into outright horror. McCormack is an intriguing voice (although he does rely a little too much on the trite urban legend as the framework for some of his stories).
A review of "Mirror" — 2 years ago
Mirror starts out all right, with a mysterious mirror and a little dead boy reflected inside it. But it quickly degenerates into the ridiculous, involving a plot to put together Satan’s body and bring it back to life, with some gross stuff involving people cutting out their own tongues and getting devoured by Satan’s penis. Sorry, but I just couldn’t buy it. Maybe I was laughing so hard I forgot to be scared.