34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Lively and Funny...With an Emotional Hook, 11 April 2005
If you're looking for Philip Roth, you might do better to look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a funny (often wildly funny) book about relationships, lost dreams, and the concessions of adulthood, this is a good book. Maybe even a great book. Martin Sierra is a 'writer' without a single publishing credit to his name (Martin's hero is Charles Bukowski, poet laureate of skid row and famous drunk), and he's getting on in years, feeling trapped in a dead-end job and languishing in an ambiguous relationship with the woman of his dreams, Nikki. To distract himself from the constant rejections, Martin is drawn into the world of the downtown personals, a kind of limbo place where most gals he meets, artists and Goths, seem as lost as he is. There is humor in the edgy dialogue and the unexpected turns of the protagonist. Also the descriptions. This novel revels in the grittiness of New York City, the bars and clubs, endless crowds of unknowable people. The descriptions of New York's East Village (pre-9/11) have a hallucinatory clarity and at certain points the book becomes a kind of travelogue or semi-journalistic depiction of that era. I got caught up in this novel. The short chapters and simple writing make it quite addicting, and I found myself compelled to read more and more of it. Like a guilty pleasure. Be forewarned: there's quite a bit of profanity and unconventional behavior in this book. Not a novel for conservatives -- but otherwise quite alive and full of spontaneity. Again, not Philip Roth, but I really enjoyed it. If you are a Bukowski fan, you will love this book!