Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 20 Under 40: A Play by Play Update Deal

I haven't posted in a few days BUT I've wanted to, so in lieu of a fully fleshed out review or whatever else I normally do, I've decided to blog a bit about the Top 20 Under 40 New Yorker Lit Edition I've recently gotten my grubby hands on, smudging the pages and such. (--And yes, the preceding was a very long overwrought sentence. Would you expect any better from me? I should hope not, not by now. After all we've been through.)

And so on,

Look, I don't want to say that I hate Jonathan Safran Foer. I have several friends who are great fans of his work. And that might be the same as saying something like, "I have a lot of gay friends" and then unloading some seriously homophobic remark. But anyway, what's the deal, huh? Does his style strike anyone else as maybe a smidgen tediously bull-shitty? I confess I've only ever read the opening pages to "Everything is Illuminated" and his latest New Yorker entry, "Here We Aren't, So Quickly." But how am I supposed to feel about lines like: "We went to Tobey Pond every year until we didn't"? And it would be one thing if the story were told in a way that glossed over an unspectacular line or two, but in this one it seems to revel in them. We're all allowed to be inventive with prose, skilled writers like Safran Foer especially, but I've not recently found inventiveness that was this boring. That is possibly my fault, though.

Other than Safran Foer the only other New Yorker Top 20 Under 40 I've read is Joshua Ferris' "The Pilot" -- which I liked in certain ways, especially with regard to the dithering of the main character, who wrestled with the uncertain question of whether he was truly invited to a party or not. Without giving anything away, I'll just say my attitude is that the ending sort of fell flat when there were a lot of possibilities that might have made for a more climactic conclusion. Doesn't quite live up to his last New Yorker short story, "The Valetudinarian."

No comments:

Post a Comment