I was really really disappointed with this book. It was like that 2008 movie Jumper–amazing concept, terrible execution. Zadie Smith gathered a couple dozen well-known writers to do short stories/character sketches but they really fell short of the mark. I mean, I know that they weren’t supposed to be stories that focused on the plot–character development was the whole point–but even as such they were boring and pretentious.
I only found a few stories that were worth my time:
- The Liar by Aleksander Hemon-a brief retelling of Jesus’ crucifixion.
- The Monster by Toby Litt-about a creature who can’t see himself and all he knows of his appearance is based on touch.
- Soleil by Vendela Vida-one of the better-developed sketches that actually made me interested in learning more about the wild-child “aunt” Soleil.
- Theo by Dave Eggers-a lonely and jilted giant seeks solace in the beautiful mountains.
The rest you could totally skip and save yourself the yawning. I just felt like so many of the stories were written to sound extremely pompous and egotistical. I don’t like associating with snobby socialites, so I’m not interested in reading about them either. I don’t care about your Upper-East-Side-bagels-and-lox-can’t-find-a-good-nanny-problems. I want to read about someone real. Real problems and real courage.
It reminded me too much of A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff, which I hated.
Maybe I’m shallow. Maybe I haven’t started crying into my gin and tonic at 10am and I just don’t understand. Who knows?
All I know is that I won’t be reading this ever again.
2 vagina-faced monsters of 5