A bold, arresting new work of fiction from the acclaimed author of Everything Matters!
In this tour de force of imagination, Ron Currie asks why literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths, creating yet again a genre-bending novel that will at once dazzle, move, and provoke.
The protagonist of Ron Currie, Jr.’s new novel has a problem - or rather, several of them. He’s a writer whose latest book was destroyed in a fire. He’s mourning the death of his father, and has been in love with the same woman since grade school, a woman whose beauty and allure is matched only by her talent for eluding him. Worst of all, he’s not even his own man, but rather an amalgam of fact and fiction from Ron Currie’s own life. When Currie the character exiles himself to a small Caribbean island to write a new book about the woman he loves, he eventually decides to fake his death, which turns out to be the best career move he’s ever made. But fame and fortune come with a price, and Currie learns that in a time of 24-hour news cycles, reality TV, and celebrity Twitter feeds, the one thing the world will not forgive is having been told a deeply satisfying lie.
What kind of distinction could, or should, be drawn between Currie the author and Currie the character? Or between the book you hold in your hands and the novel embedded in it? Whatever the answers, Currie, an inventive writer always eager to test the boundaries of storytelling in provocative ways, has essential things to impart along the way about heartbreak, reality, grief, deceit, human frailty, and blinding love.
©2013 Ron Currie, Jr. (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
Actively hated this book; still trying to figure out why...I mean, I was interested enough to listen till the end so I think on some level I enjoyed being annoyed at every turn.
Not sure which is worse, the pretentious writing or the broadcast-school narration.
Either way, the protagonist is a stupid cartoon of what every guy thinks/wants/hopes he is, and the female characters are what every guy thinks/wants/hopes women are. Seriously, this reads more like a first novel (that never saw the light of day) than the effort of an apparently respected writer.
And the narrator is horribly miscast---his growly, trying-to-sound-macho delivery just makes the protagonist sound like more of an a-hole than he already is.
Loved the title. Really, really did not like the book.
On the other hand, Ron Currie's supposed to be a pretty big deal, so maybe I just didn't get it?
(. . . and the cover art is superb.)
You know, maybe it was my fault; I expected too much. The reviews on Amazon were glowing:
"Sharp and sarcastic . . ."
"A powerful, brilliant, compelling novel about love, writing, fame, fiction and shame."
"So blisteringly funny that I laughed as I hadn’t laughed in years"
Well, I like "sharp and sarcastic." I like "brilliant and compelling." And am I ready to fall down laughing? You bet. So, I plopped down my last credit for "Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles."
Annnnd . . . I don't know, it was okay.
I think part of the problem is that this book is meant to be read. From what I'm to understand, it's a series of small vignettes, and on paper, I think, that would be more apparent. However, while listening, you miss the brakes and it all sounds more convoluted.
Ron is heartbroken. He still fantasizes reunion with Emma, glorious Emma, wonderful Emma. Emma, who is desired by many but is so emotionally remote. Their relationship is, well, complicated. Their sex, painful, to say the least. Ron is also heartbroken over his father's death.
But Ron is also kind of out there. All throughout the book, he goes into these tangents about people becoming robots or something. In the beginning these, what, musings are somewhat interesting, but by the end, you just want to get to the story – what story there is.
And that's the problem, the central point of the story is that Ron faked his suicide (this isn't a spoiler – Ron lets you know that up front in the beginning of the book). He goes through his reasons for this decision, and, I don't know, I just didn't find it believable. I couldn't connect the dots. For most of the book the character has a list of stated goals, namely, Emma. So his reasoning does not connect. At least it didn't for me.
That doesn't mean that there aren't some very touching and funny moments. The scenes with his father and that whole story are very well done. As were the scenes with Emma, again, very well done.
And, on the whole, I was entertained.
But, also unsatisfied.
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