Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ron Charles Reviews Laurie Sheck’s Debut

Generally, I don’t post about other reviews, particularly those appearing in the major papers, because I know you’ll find them on your own if you’re interested. Ron Charles’s recent review in the Washington Post of Laurie Sheck’s debut novel, A Monster’s Notes, is so compelling, however, that I feel an unusual need to cite to it. Charles describes A Monster’s Notes as “a baffling 500-page book” composed of “thousands of little scraps stitched together: bits of letters, journal entries, newspaper clippings, marginalia, interviews, dreams, lists, Web pages, lesson plans and translated passages, full of additions and words x'd out.”

It sounds like a challenging read:
[A Monster’s Notes is] a fire hose of erudition that sprays out allusions to 3,000 years of history, science, philosophy and literature, the kind of novel that keeps you chained to Wikipedia unless you're on a first-name basis with Boethius, Cao Xuequin, Dante, Marco Polo, Locke, Diogenes, Maimonides and especially the Romantic poets, along with their parents, lovers, children and pets. I'm sure somewhere there's a reader smart enough (or dishonest enough) to enjoy this novel in all its rich allusiveness, but I spent the entire ordeal lurching along about 50 IQ points behind.

The rest of the review is equally entertaining. I’m almost tempted to read the book.

3 comments:

Lit and Life said...

That sounds like quite a challenge!

Tina said...

Well now you've got me curious enough to go check it out. Thanks for the lead

Zibilee said...

This book does indeed sound very strange. I will have to check out the full review of this one.