This is an amazing first book from Wouk. Not written in first person yet still as compelling and convincing as if it were. Flirts with the line between telling a story and telling ABOUT a story. Sets up your basic love conflict successfully. Beautiful, wealthy characters. The diatribe on advertising works well. Melville-esque with the chapter title summaries and digressions within the work. Renaming of telephone-instrument-device… why?
i finished Thinks… by David Lodge last night, and i can’t say that i agree with the hype and numerous recommendations for this book. Parts of it were intriguing, but i’m never a big fan of any book that ends with giving a paragraph to each character to tell what became of them. The ending was trite drivel, and I expected as much as soon as Helen gave in to Ralph’s advances. The sexual tension kept the story buoyant, and once it was gone the plot fizzled out disappointingly.
While interesting, this book is toeing the line between being a seriously academic work and one of light marshmallow fluff. i don’t like that combination. Maybe it’ll get better. But i normally like my academics straight up, smothered in footnotes (or endnotes, or just plain citations!!!), and i like my fluff just plain airy and delicious.
addendum: i take it back- fast food nation is thoroughly researched and endnoted. i was just too lazy to look for the notes. and the fluff is only to break up the tedium. it’s good stuff.
best collection of short stories i’ve ever read.