Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sorry, Dave Eggers

Finally picked up a copy of Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius--his 1999 novel that the New York Times said announced the "debut of a talented--yes, staggeringly talented new writer" and that has praised everywhere and anywhere--and I set to reading the Preface, which begins: "There is no overwhelming need to read the preface. Really. It exists mostly for the author, and those who, after finishing the rest of the book, have for some reason found themselves stuck with nothing else to read." I scanned a bit further over the many pages of the preface, then came to the lengthy Acknowledgements, which I saw included a picture of a stapler, then I went to the novel's first page, which I didn't even finish before I put the book down. Through no fault really of that first page.

I just can't do it any more. I just can't. All these pirouettes, words upon self-deprecating spiraling strands of words. Yes, one critic wrote that Eggers' novel was "finally a finite book of jest, which is why it succeeds so brilliantly"--and maybe it is, and maybe it does; but not for me. For me all this is hardly finite enough.

It's somehow gotten that I rarely trust anything over twenty pages.

Perhaps I'll pick up Heartbreaking again some time.

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