Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Finally, a novel we can feel conflicted about and avoid finishing
As the self-appointed board of directors for Venom Literati, I have to take the hopes and wishes of the people in mind when I force you to read some new book which you will like but feel guilty about liking with such abandon. I listen to the people. And the people are so tired of being pleased; they want to dislike some things. So I propose we read Chris Adrian’s 700 million page book The Children’s Hospital in this, the season of novels the same thickness as the snow drifts (Don’t worry, there’s more clumsy figurative language to come in this book! There’s one particularly cringe-worthy metaphor about a peeled banana).
Here are my reasons why you will feel happily conflicted about this book.
1. The author went to Iowa, and it clearly ruined him.
2. The point-of-view is very workshoppy, with sections in first and a close yet annoyingly knowing third-person. The first-person section is narrated by an extremely stupid angel voice. I’d suggest skipping all of that.
3. It is too large to read anywhere but balanced in your lap above an electric blanket.
4. I’m a sucker for hospital novels (Lanark, Secret Rendezvous). If you skip the first-person sections, there’s some dialogue that’s not bad, not bad.
5. At least it’s not Proust.
6. I’ve only read about 100 pages. I don’t really know what else.