I had seen excerpts from "Labyrinth" somewhere online, and was looking forward to it. I am thankful that I borrowed the book from the library. While there are some engaging vignettes in the first 40 pages of the volume (especially about Simic's youth in Belgrade and his time in Chicago), the volume quickly degenerates into a sophomoric nose-thumbing of religion, a resolutely quirky surrealism (characteristic of his poems), and several cantankerous political grousings typical of those who would absolve our forty-fourth president for committing the same sins as our forty-third.
There are many striking images, as when Simic compares the moon to the rear-end of a young bride, or Utopia to a chocolate cake under a glass bell. But the few good points do not lead this reader to condone the gross caricatures, the adolescent "rebellion," the aggressively skeptical vituperation.
Simic briefly stirs our sympathy when he says that the unexpected kindness of one human being to another during times of mass violence is worth more than any and all churchy preachment. He's not far from St Paul, he might be surprised to learn, when the apostle writes, "If I speak with the tongues of angels and have not charity, I am nothing." But in the very next breath, he squelches our sympathy by describing a priest being callous to "a homeless woman" (apparently, Simic didn't get her name), as if this episode were somehow representative of all clergy, at all times, everywhere.
We praise Simic's imagination, such as it is, but must withhold praise from the snark and the hackneyed tropes more characteristic of adolescence than of age. I would recommend this book only to the most ardent devotees of Simic's verse.