March 14, 2006

Review of North of Sunset

At Grumpy Old Bookman, there’s the first review of North of Sunset. Can’t say I agree with everything he’s saying--he mentions there aren’t enough scenes. It’s funny because I was worried that the novel was too Hollywood. In my defense, he read the novel on PDF, so maybe it didn’t flow as naturally. The novel has met with widely varying reactions. Some editors said it was too literary, while some others said it was too mainstream. Which I’m going to say is a good thing. Thanks to Michael Allen for the write-up.


Empty Drum said...

It seems like Grumpy was more concerned with not saying anything too negative than he was with actually getting into the merits and deficits of the book.

Not that I want NOS to get negative reviews, of course -- but any reviewer whose central thesis is "it's not written the way I would write it -- and that's OK" is kind of hard to take seriously.

I'm about 20 pages in and liking it a lot. Well worth the wait!

Empty Drum said...

I can see why some people might be confused by the book -- a lot of current-day "crime" or "pulp" fiction is kind of self-consciously written, like the author is letting you know he's "in on the joke" of writing a genre piece.

Your approach does seem more serious, more quote unquote literary. The book is, after all, dealing with a very unpleasant set of characters and situations. So why not treat it all as the nightmare it is?

Henry Baum said...

Actually, a lot of people find the book funny, not so unpleasant. People didn’t get that American Psycho is supposed to be funny either. There’s a lot of humor in Jim Thompson--the end of A Hell of a Woman. I was surprised when someone read NOS as a straight noir book, when I don’t think it’s so hard-boiled. I see it as Tom Wolfe gone haywire, which I don’t really want to say because Tom Wolfe sucks now.

Empty Drum said...
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Empty Drum said...

I didn't say the book is unpleasant, just that the subject matter is... And the comedy is indeed there, but it's comedy born of revulsion, much in the manner of Tom Wolfe -- you would never want to be in the same room as his characters, but you can't stop reading about them either!

Empty Drum said...

And anyone who can't see the humor in American Psycho has got a broken funnybone. The violent parts were a little stupid, but most of the book is goddamn hilarious. The squirm factor prevails througout.

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