viernes, 29 de abril de 2011

The Dodecahedron or A Frame for Frames

The Dodecahedron or A Frame for Frames (The Porcupine's Quill, 2005)
by Paul Glennon
Canada, 2005

Man, I fucking hated this book.  Lame, lamer, lamest approach to the interconnected short story collection-as-novel idea, the main problem not being the potentially interesting storytelling structure itself but the unvarying flat monotone "I" of the various narrators: whether they're supposed to be weird little kids or grumpy old businessmen, they all sound the same.  In addition, the obsession with outlandish conspiracy theories and "clever" plot twists felt really forced to me.  While Glennon claims to have constructed The Dodecahedron on "mildly Oulipian principles," something that certainly sounds appealing on paper, I'm sorry to say that I'll definitely remember it more for its unconvincing authorial voice and its dry, androidal prose than for any resemblances to Perec and Calvino.  Whatever.  (http://porcupinesquill.ca/)

15 comentarios:

  1. I'm sorry? That was a bit vague. Did you like it?

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  2. Well, you got that out of your system. This is not a book that ever appeared on my radar, but I'm pleased to see a book blogger with the nerve to write a bad review when he thinks a bad review is called for.

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  3. Haha, you hated this so much it showed up twice in my Google reader. I, on the other hand, thought it was great fun! No Proust, but certainly an enjoyable game.

    I know what you're saying about the monotone narrators, but to me it worked because everything was very schematic. It actually did remind me quite a bit of Perec in that both use that narrative style that's more like reading ABOUT a story than being immersed in the story itself. The author's voice is always more audible than the characters'. Although Perec doesn't usually use first-person in Life a Users' Manual, but I wasn't particularly bothered.

    Also see what you're saying about the outlandishness of the plots, but given that most of the stories end up being either fragments from boys' adventure stories, tall tales or deliberate frauds, that kind of made sense to me too in the end.

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  4. I saw Sarah's and Emily's exchange on this on Sarah's blog and was intrigued but now I'm only laughing and enjoying your mini review. I even read it twice and should I ever compile the reviews I liked most yours will have a special place in it (along with one of your very poetical, eloquent and appreciative ones). I think you gathered that I love a nice contrast.

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  5. *Frances: Ha, you remain a crack-up, my friend! But you see what happens when I try and exercise a little "restraint" in my posts?

    *C.B. James: Thanks, but I probably did need to get that out of my system given how awful the book seemed to me. The only other choice would have been to remain completely silent, which might have been "nicer" of me but maybe not all that honest (or "participatory" given that this was a book group choice). Cheers!

    *Emily: Sorry about the double entry in your Google reader--Blogger does this thing where it publishes posts if you leave the edit window open for too long, and I guess I was toggling back and forth between basketball scores too often and got timed out. What you say about the narrators makes sense to me in some ways, but I just couldn't get past that with Glennon since his narrative voice seemed so fraudulent to me. It was a real deal breaker. Anyway, I'm glad you and Sarah found the book enjoyable since I hated it enough for more than one person regardless!

    *Caroline: Ha ha, thanks--and I was worried that I'd said too much in my mini-review! There's not much left to say after you write that you don't think the narrators are credible or enjoyable in a work, you know? Cheers!

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  6. Unequivocal opinion, I guess you won't be digging into the sequel, apparently based on an icosahedron.

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  7. Your review makes me laugh, Richard! Love it!

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  8. I appreciate your brutal honesty as usual - at least this book merited more than a one line review (unlike a certain other book that I also forced you to read!) :)

    As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although more for its construction than for its lyrical writing style.

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  9. *Anthony: Ha ha, no, please, one Glennon was more than enough for me--love your line about the icosahedron, though!

    *Amanda: Thanks! Now I feel a little bit like a meanspirited prophet in the wilderness, though, because everybody else who read the book seemed to find it enjoyable somehow. Weird!

    *Sarah: Ha ha, at least this time nobody's sent me a rambling e-mail telling me about how many people's feelings supposedly got hurt with my post! Seriously, glad you and the rest of the group enjoyed this so much--but I am ever so curious about Frances' silence in the matter so far: what could she have thought about this? Was she sane like me or delusional like the rest of y'all? Cheers! :D

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  10. ????

    I loved this one! Did we read the same book? This was my favorite Wolves read yet! BLASPHEMY YOU BLASPHEMER!!!!!

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  11. Now you've hurt my feelings, Richard.

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  12. *E.L. Fay: Favorite Wolves read ever? How can you even type so obviously wigging out on crack?!?

    *Isabella: Sorry--I mean, sorry, enabler! :D

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  13. OK, it didn't work for me either. Kept putting off posting. I actually enjoyed the prose more than the structure (the opposite of Sarah I think?). Found it not monotonous but quiet if that makes sense. But as I said elsewhere a minute ago, the structure was so forced and annoying to me that I cheered as I neared the end only to find that he stops to explain the lame ass effort to us to conclude. And I hated the cover. And it looked really bad atop my blog all month. Not like the eye candy up top here today.

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  14. *Frances: Ha, I wondered if Vásquez was going to qualify as eye candy for you! How could he not, compared to Borges and Mahfouz, though? As far as Glennon goes, glad to hear that you didn't drink the Kool-Aid like the rest of our non-understandably smitten Wolves this month. "Forced," "annoying," "lame ass," I concur, even if only for slightly different reasons. Cheers!

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