Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
To be sure, Shteyngart is a good writer.
He succeeds in making a fat, entitled, child of a Russian gangster sort-of sympathetic. The book is vaguely reminiscent of A Confederacy of Dunces in that respect.
There’s also some sort of satire going on here in the fictional country of Absurdistan, with the very real characters of Halliburton and oil and “rebuilding” and government contracts and oh who knows what else.
This story is both amusing and disturbing and often gross (seriously… I don’t need to ever read again such detailed and vivid descriptions of the body of an enormously fat man ever again).
But really… the man is a good writer.
Speaking with the Angel by Nick Hornby and others
So I bought this collection of short stories because… Nick Hornby.
Also, it benefits Autism. Or rather, those with Autism.
It’s a collection of stories from a bunch of writers and Colin Firth.
“NippleJesus” was great. “Walking into the Wind” was very David Sedaris (i.e. good).
In general, this is a fun collection of stories. I think Colin Firth should stick to acting, and I am forever ashamed by my inability to enjoy Dave Eggers, but overall, this is a good read.
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall
I thought his Lonely Polygamist was a masterpiece, and this earlier work is pretty darn good, too.
We follow the life of a half-Native-American/half-Caucasian boy who had his head run over by a mailman at the age of 7.
And, um… hmm.
Okay, I’m thinking of ways to describe this book, but they all sound depressing in my head. It’s not a depressing book… it’s just a roller-coaster of hardship with interesting characters.
Brady Udall has a deft touch with his characters. He can make them gritty without being depressing, though in hindsight, they really should be.
Good book. I’m going to pick up anything else he’s written, ’cause he’s 2 for 2.
Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 by Scott McCloud
Curt Holman thought I might enjoy these, and I have enjoyed his non-fiction works on Comics in general. I picked it up used during an Amazon buying binge a few weeks ago.
It’s an odd little ole comic, this is. It’s rough, and not super sophisticated. But it’s got an interesting feel to it.
Like Heroes and Misfits, it toys with the “What if Superheroes were in the real world?” motif. How can you be in the right place and right time to find a crime to stop?
But it’s actually not about a superhero all that much. The folks around Zot! actually become bored with his crime-fighting, and the focus of the narrative is often around people chatting while Zot is off-panel battling. So, it’s about people. Young teenagers, to be exact.
And those guys are always… interesting.