“She was young the way an actual young person is young.”

What is this book about?

A young couple gets married way too quickly and then moves to Germany. There they become birdwatchers, nature lovers, cheaters and eco-terrorists.

Why is it boring?

It took me a good 50 pages to get into this novel. It felt like Nell Zink was trying to challenge her readers to keep reading, pulling a Ze Frank style ‘Are the new viewers gone yet?‘ These first 50 pages contain quite some strange sex scenes and page after page on this wallcreeper that the couple caught.

Who would you recommend it to?

The Wallcreeper and Nell Zink are definitely not for everyone. Jonathan Franzen loves her and I think that your feelings about that recommendation will tell you if this book is for you.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

Because the book is very intriguing. Nell Zink’s writing is strangely alluring and maybe a little off-putting at the same time.  Her characters are the worst as well. Tiffany is uncaring, lazy and starts cheating on her husband not long after they get married. Stephen isn’t any better himself. He keeps looking for the next best thing, for that one idea or person that will change his life and doesn’t care at all about who or what he already has. Both characters are self-involved, entitled and destructive, but somehow I couldn’t stop reading about them. Besides all the weirdness, this book contains amazing emotional moments , funny observations and very sharp writing. I had thought I would be in love with Nell Zink after reading this novel, but I’m not there yet. Not all of the sharp and witty remarks hit home for me and some things just struck me as plain weird. However, I’m intrigued enough to read her second novel Mislaid and I am definitely curious to see what she is like in real life.

Rating: 3,5/5

Come see Nell Zink with us at Border Kitchen on the 18th of February! Order your tickets through this link and use the code ‘BTDBC’ to get half off.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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