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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Monday, February 22, 2016

The anointed novelist of the moment : Spiotta

The NY times mag yesterday anointed Dana Spiotta as the novelist of the moment so an an attempt to stay ahead of the curb I started reading her  - I think I've read some of her stories but that's about it. Started her 3rd I think of 5 novels , Stone Arabia, not because it's the best but because it's the only on my town library had on shelf. The title itself is symptomatic of this novel - 2 cool words oddly juxtapositioned but to what end? Most likely they are a band or album name - as this novel is loosely about the west coast indie folk rock scene of the 70s. Inevitably this has be nor was compared w goon squad and I find it better -!goon squad struck me as a work of reaseach where as Stone A feels like an authentically loved life. The narrator is a single mom - daughter fully grown and independent- of no particular distinction - dull job dull boyfriend who stops being nonce a week, mother showing early signs of dementia. The central relationship is between her and older bro - musician, hoarder, cataloguer, self-publisher - not clear the level of his talent but he did seem to have a few albums and now is battling post fame syndrome, mainly alcohol and cigarettes.. The problem tho thru first third of novel is - what is the why? Spiotta assiduously avoids putting the bone in the throat and we really don't know, yet, what crisis or challenge these characters face.  She ver slowly enters the narrative,strew in along the way various postmodern tricks - eg a long journal excerpt that we learn gradually was written by the bro in his sister's voice. Hoping this mostly appealing narrative will take some direction as novel proceeds m

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