Doxology

What a relief to find that other reviewers are finding this less than readable. I usually like Nell Zink’s writing but this went off the rails. Luckily (?) I was noting down plot points of each chapter and I can actually tell you where it falls apart. The story is interesting when it’s about Pam and Daniel and Joe, thrashing about the Lower East Side in late 1980s NYC. Pam, a high school dropout, takes up computer coding quite successfully. Daniel does a series of late night proofreading at law firms and then temping. Joe is Joe is Joe, afflicted by the Williams syndrome and cheerfully accepting everyone, recording amazing tunes and inexplicably becoming a rock star. Then, tragically, Pam decides not to abort her pregnancy, and Flora is unleashed on the story, dragging it down behind her. It’s not too terrible until Chapter 14 when Flora takes over the story and everyone else is left behind. Before that, 9/11 happens, the family flees to DC, Joe is fed heroin by his worthless groupie girlfriend Gwen and dies; Gwen flees and leaves him there for days, dead. Naturally as the pages fly by, Zink resorts to the same old trick to spice up the story and now Flora is pregnant, only it’s by a fling she has while campaigning for Jill Stein instead of with her Clinton-advising boyfriend who’s had a vasectomy. It might sound interesting, but it’s not.