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.


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.