Have any of you read this? I’m 67 pages in and still as bored as I was on page 1, which is to say: totally.
I even brought the book on our weekend trip to KL, hoping that an aggregate of 10 coach hours with nothing else to do would force me to keep going until a switch magically flipped and I finally realized why the novel is apparently a “great daredevil ride” (The Times, according to the back cover). Alas, no – every time I tried to make any progress, I’d get bored after a few pages and doze off, snooze for a few minutes and then wake up again due to coach discomfort or noisy kids. Rinse and repeat, 5 hours each way.
I don’t understand how the same author who delighted me with Motherless Brooklyn’s pace, plot and humour could have birthed this tedious turd. The writing is as competent and assured as you can expect from Jonathan Lethem, but he’s taken something that could be so engaging – the ’70s childhood of a white boy in a gradually gentrifying Brooklyn neighbourhood – and sucked all the life out of it, then spat out the flavourless remains into 67 pages (so far) of carefully penned but stupefyingly dull observations. It’s like seeing graffiti in greyscale.
In my younger more pretentious days I might have stuck with this because it is Worthy by many accounts, but I now feel no compunction in giving it up. More good books exist than I will ever be able to finish reading in my lifetime, and thousands of those will reward the intelligent, thoughtful and reasonably patient reader more than this one did. I’m moving on. What have you read and enjoyed recently?