We’re going into Round 2 of our Zombie Voting! For our 25th book club we’re giving all the books we didn’t pick another chance and we’ve shaved it down to 8 options. In the next few weeks we’ll dwindle this down to 4, so we’ll have a great book to read in December. Make sure you vote on the books you want to give another chance so we can make our 25th book club the best it can be. To help you decide we’re sharing some Goodreads 5 & 1 star reviews about the books.
Our final bracket for round 2 is Kevin Wilson’s short story collection vs. Charles Burns’ graphic novel. Two strange ducks facing off against each other. Which one will make it to round 3?
★★★★★ by Joanne
This guy just jumped into my car and screaming, “GO, GO, GO!!!” And I didn’t know where we were going but the way he spoke made me certain that I would love it, wherever it was.
And so it was.
We peeled around strange corners and squealed through peoples lives, odd characters I never would have met or even imagined in my own life, with my own imagination at the wheel. Smashing through their kitchen windows and listening in our their private conversations, voyeurs breaking the speed of dreams, I was enraptured, disturbed, fascinated, startled and self conscious.
At the end of it all I wanted it to start all over again, but he hasn’t jumped back into my car yet.
I await more from this man. Whatever is published by him, I’ll be there. Until then, I’ll stare at the tree in the yard and wait for a little car to appear…
★☆☆☆☆ by Tom
Wilson’s talent is pretty clear in the occasional funny moments, and the rare touching moment, but this collection is overall just not great. The stories are WAY too self-consciously quirky, with the absolute reliance on increasingly contrived gimmicks and Saunders-esque wacky jobs (ie- a guy who sorts letters in the scrabble factory, guys working in the noise factory, the replacement grandma, etc). Besides the pretty obvious derivative nature of the wackiness, it’s problematic for two other reasons:
1) There are serious, huge logical issues with the existence of these jobs, not justified by the story world in which they exist
2) they don’t particularly lead to any kind of emotional resonance or depth. They’re just there, usually, to be strange.
It’s a collection that gets way too caught up in trying to be clever, and too willing to sacrifice human emotion for the sake of an ironically detached paragraph. Loses sight of good storytelling for the sake of adopting a niche style that appears designed primarily to be placed in indie lit mags.
★★★★★ by Aaron
Holy shit, what a strange and affecting book. Charles Burns’s art is exquisite; the almost woodcut-style black-or-white comics visually echo and reflect themselves over the course of a very surreal narrative and make suburban Seattle into a dark and sometimes terrifying dreamscape. The teens suffering from the disfiguring ‘plague’ of the story, like in Clowes’s Ghost World, linger in that liminal space between childhood and maturity with a discomfort with which we are all painfully familiar, yet their longings and dumb pipe-dreams, aided by Burns’s exacting craftsmanship, evoke all that is irretrievable and ineffable about leaving your youth behind. Totally fucking awesome.
★☆☆☆☆ by Richard Knight
Ugh! What a waste of time. Teens have sex, take drugs, get a disease that causes mutations, yada, yada, yada, the end. In a lot of ways, this book reminds me of House of Leaves. They’re both mediocre stories that have garnered way more praise than they ever deserved. Their approach to a cohesive narrative structure is obtuse and clumsy, making for a frustrating and uninteresting read. In every way, this book sucks.
Were these reviews helpful? Do you know who you’re going to vote for? Let us know!