Thursday, June 02, 2005

Man About Town

Finished reading this book by Mark Merlis the other day. It was okay. Not great, but not terrible. The plot is a bit meandering; man gets dumped, man tries to recover, man goes through crisis at work concurrent with personal crisis. It was a bit disappointing after reading An Arrow's Flight, which was much better. I just read the Amazon review for Man About Town; they used the review published in Publisher's Weekly and I have to wonder how closely the person who read the book paid attention to what he/she was reading; it claims that the main character has a tightly-knit close circle of friends, which is crap; he really has no friends he can turn to when he's feeling bad.

It's hard to find much sympathy for this character; he goes into bars to cruise and is scornful of the type of man who shows interest in him, and yet there is much inner monologue about his own expanding waistline, wrinkles, gray hair, etc. Through this, we learn that he doesn't much like himself, and that made it harder for me as a reader to like him.

The final conflict didn't play out very well, and you're meant to understand it through just a few lines of dialogue without the overbearing inner monologue you come to expect throughout the course of the book. At times, however, the monologue has great moments, as in this one from the middle of the book:

"Memo to himself: Do not have three glasses of wine and chat with a redneck senator about AIDS."

But, while I enjoyed the actual reading of the book, I felt like I was trying to get to the meat of something and it just wasn't there.

Oh well.


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