this is my space to review the books i'm reading. and basicly to show off my extensive knowlege of literature and elitism founded there on.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Trouble - Patrick Somerville

This was by no means the best book I’ve ever read. But it did try very hard, and not in the awful "look at me I’m an awesome postmodernist writer using trippy metaphors and creepy plot devices" it was more like a "ooooh, look at me I can be really good I swear, yea I know the plot of that last story was a little underdeveloped but there was some great imagery in there"
I really wanted to like this book more. I read the first few pages of the advanced reader copy we had at work on my break and thought it was quite good so I brought it home. It took me forever to finish reading it mostly because I started to read Infinite Jest. But I now that I have finished it I’m a little disappointed, but I do think that if he keeps writing he could be a really good writer this book of short stories had a lot of good material in it but I don't think it was polished enough.
Most of these stories involve men and boys of varying ages dealing with changes and problems in their own ways, allot of them are slightly off of reality in that way that is favored by the current literary establishment (and I admit I too like it). But where they are it doesn't work quite as well as some of the more established or talented writers use it. In one story the narrator is visited by an English cousin, whom he has never heard of before and no one is able to sufficiently explain to him. Unfortunately most of the story involves the use of British stereotypes and the narrator's amusing torture of his inexplicable cousin. This was at least amusing and there was some interesting development of the narrator's superiority complex in relation to the cousin and women but I couldn't help feeling that the author was trying to set up some kind of metaphor for something with the international relationship and it just fell flat, or maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention.
The best of these short stories were about the teenage boys trying to cope with adolescence and transition out of child hood. The first story, Puberty, contrasts that with the boy's father struggling with adulthood and his inability to connect with his son. it is a touching and strange story and he really captures the voice of this kid and of his father and successfully conveys that they have more in common then either of them realize and that in their own way this communication barrier is a kind of communication among men at delicate stages in their live. Sort of the idea that silence can say more then words at some times.
All of the stories in this collection are interesting and show a definite level of potential and I look forward to his next offering. I hope he can show off more of his skill and interesting sense of humor without leaving out as much of the substance and flow as he did in this set of stories.