Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Review

After reading "God Says No" by James Hannaham--my review is here--I thought the next McSweeney's Rectangular would be just as interesting and fun to read. I was wrong. I made it 151 pages (out of 241) of Jessica Anthony's debut novel, "The Convalescent".
"Convalescent - a person who is recovering from illness"
It's the story of, what appeared in my mind, a troll--think the troll from Ernest Scared Stupid--living in a broken down bus, selling meat. There is also a supplemental narrative that gives some insight into Hungarian history--to what extent it is accurate, I do not know--and how it led Rovar Pfliegman (the protagonist) to a life of being a butcher.

It had an interesting start, but it left me feeling bored after 100 or so pages. One gets the impression that the story's happenings are realistic, but eventually it turns surreal. In one Hungarian story, a woman gives birth...to fish and enough water that it creates an (historic) river. There's also a hideous looking baby that comes out of her too.

Lastly, McSweeney's needs to employ a real editor, or fire their current one. There were so many grammatical errors that should not have been in there. I'm talking about simple things that would have been caught had they actually read the book. This has been the case with the past three McSweeney's titles that I've read.

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