Monday, July 31, 2017
"Less" Than I Expected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes my enthusiasm runs rampant, darlings. When I read Christopher Buckley's glowing review in The Times of Andrew Sean Greer's latest novel, what it dealt with, and that I had read his earlier "The Confessions Of Max Tivoli," I felt I just HAD to read "Less."
While it dealt tangentially with a failed novelist, the world of literature, and such things dear to me, what surprised me the most was it was not the laugh-filled experience Buckley made it out to be. It was insightful and, at times, downright philosophical, in a downbeat, almost Joan Didion, kind of way. I had a hard time getting through it, not for lack of writing skill, but because it was not conforming to my expectations.
Now, maybe Buckley and I just have different senses of humor. Mine is on display here most of the time, dears, so one knows what one is getting. And I do not blame either Buckley or Greer. "Less" could end up being one of the more noteworthy books of the year, it can be admired for its structural brilliance, and yet, the reader, as I did, may come away with the feeling that, for all its merit, he/she really does not LIKE it, all that much.
I have to do a bit of wondering, darlings. With Ms. Kakutani dismissed, and her not liking the restructuring of the Times Book Section, does such restructuring require reviewers to go out and sell book? Because, it seemed to me, that is what Buckley was doing. I am not denying his palpable enthusiasm was genuine, enough to have me seek this book out, but did he not see the downside to this book, or was he just blown away by all the intermittent cute and pithy phrases that would pop up now and then, as if to justify the book's humor?
I congratulate Mr. Greer on a worthwhile book. Maybe if someone else had reviewed the book, or Buckley could have been more objective, the reading public could have been alerted to what was really going on within these pages.
A gay man's midlife crisis could be funny. Here, it is achingly poignant. Not what I was looking for.
For all that I have championed Jonathan Franzen on here--and still do--I am the first to admit that "Purity" disappointed me.
I think Mr. Greer set out to write what he wanted, and did. With Mr. Buckley, intentional or not, it was a case of the reviewer misleading the reader.
Happy Reading, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!