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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant satire
Evidently some of the reviewers here are unable to make the distinction between a work of fiction and a memoir. Dwight's problems and thoughts are _not_ necessarily those of the author. Whatever, I read this book several times in a row when I came across it on a secondhand bookstall in Bombay and thought it extremely funny, a brilliant satire with excellent...
Published on 25 May 2009 by Robert Appleby

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally unreadable
How on earth did this ever get published? The writing style is awful - virtually unreadable - and the story, such as it is, is almost non-existent. Not the slightest bit funny, despite the claims emblazoned on the front and back covers. I gave up and tossed it aside having read less than a quarter of it. The editor should be ashamed and the writer should find another job.
Published on 7 Feb 2009 by D. Haslett


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant satire, 25 May 2009
By 
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
Evidently some of the reviewers here are unable to make the distinction between a work of fiction and a memoir. Dwight's problems and thoughts are _not_ necessarily those of the author. Whatever, I read this book several times in a row when I came across it on a secondhand bookstall in Bombay and thought it extremely funny, a brilliant satire with excellent characterisation. Dwight's confrontation with his father, in particular, is perfectly described and plotted. And Kunkel is a master of a very American type of frantically verbiose humour, in the vein of Pynchon and Stephenson. I lost my copy aomewhere along the way but will certainly buy it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally unreadable, 7 Feb 2009
This review is from: Indecision (Hardcover)
How on earth did this ever get published? The writing style is awful - virtually unreadable - and the story, such as it is, is almost non-existent. Not the slightest bit funny, despite the claims emblazoned on the front and back covers. I gave up and tossed it aside having read less than a quarter of it. The editor should be ashamed and the writer should find another job.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Decide not to, 7 Feb 2011
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
Dwight Wilmerding life lacks direction and substance, he decides he take a hold of his life by trying an experimental new treatment for chronic indecision. Dwight proceeds t get fired from his low-level job at Pfizer, and hops on a plane to Ecuador to see a old schoolfriend, on whom he has crush, hoping to change his life.

Ugh. This book was a bookclub choice. It's a coming-of-age blah blah blah. It's a potentially interesting idea, but none of the themes are that well developed or convincing. I think Kunkel feels he's terribly clever and making insightful comments about our disaffected and confused generation, but it just seemed like late night drunken rant to me. Give it a miss.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars awful, just awful!, 25 Jan 2008
By 
Robert Mak - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
I forget why I decided to read this book but what a dreadful decision it was.

At times it seemed as if Kunkel was so desperate to impress that he went straight for the theasaurus so he could throw in a few words that no one would ever use just to appear extremely intelligent. Sorry buddy but that doesn't quite work.

This desire to impress can be seen in the way he writes - reading this book was truly excruciating. He simply could not come out and just say whatever he wanted to say. Instead he had to dress up every idea in a ridiculously pretentious way that meant it just did not work. There were a few good ideas in the book, mainly interesting little observations on modern urban life for generation X, but these were all lost in his awful prose.

As for the story itself - terrible. Is socialism really something so alien to Americans that Kunkel thinks he is the first young American to have encountered this brave new political ideology? And the pains he goes to to point out he favours democratic socialism - is he scared of a McCarthyesque witch hunt or something? Utter garbage.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bo-ring, 19 Mar 2007
By 
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
Dwight Wilmerding is in his late twenties and cannot really make up his mind what to do with his life: he dates a girl with whom he is not really in love, he has a job he does not really like, he uses drugs but not wholeheartedly and he still lives in the student apartment despite the fact that he has a job now. In fact he feels he cannot make up his mind on anything, that's why he is quite excited when a friend offers him a new experimental drug against indecision. Unfortunately, he starts taking it right at the moment that he also decides to visit an old classmate in Ecuador. The moment he arrives the classmate disappears and Dwight gets stuck with an anthropologist to be, Brigid, who is half Argentian, half Belgian and about as vague as Dwight. Naturally they fall in love and all is well that ends well.

What a totally predictable, not funny at all, boring book. I couldn't care less about the petty problems that Dwight entertains (such as his hairy buttocks, YUCK) and the rest is rather predictable as well.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yay. it's good, 4 Dec 2005
This review is from: Indecision (Hardcover)
i thought this book was lovely. the style of writing did remind me slightly of dave eggers - although i read an interview saying that kunkel hasn't read any eggers, so there you go. there isn't much plot but that didn't bother me, as it's all about the characters mind anyway. i love the way kunkel writes, it's easy to read and funny in places and smart too (little bits of philosophy etc). it's about being 28 and working a crap job, and if you are roundabout the same age and doing the same thing, you'll definitely be able to relate to it.
i didn't want the book to end, and really want to read more of his work. also, look at the author picture on the back cover - he is very cute.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not too bad?, 13 May 2012
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
I was originally going to buy this book for a friend, but couldn't decide between this and a book on chirality. On the other hand, he does enjoy a bottle of wine. Anyway, I finally popped for this, although I took so long to come to make a choice that it was actually passed his birthday by a couple of days, so I kept it for me instead. He got some wine, but that is not important.

I think I agree with Robert Appleby's review, this book is funny, although yellowmorag also makes a good point and I kind of wish I had decided not to get this, or at least decided sooner and then I would have given it to my friend.

It is well written; well it is at least written by someone who knows how to keep the reader interested. I certainly was, for at least half of the chapters. I should say that Chapter Six "hot shot city" was particularly good.

I probably would recommend this book, though I might be willing to be persuaded otherwise.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great start!, 30 Sep 2006
This review is from: Indecision (Paperback)
The beginning of this book is superb - the paralysing indecision, the aimless life, are described beautifully. but is seems to lose direction towards the end.

One review was upset about the superficial social and political analysis - to me, this is a perfect reflection of the main characters self absorption and somewhat superficial take on life... He doesn't really care too much about an in-delth analysis of Israelis and Germans getting on, or the arab Israeli conflict - Like many people, a superficial social analysis is enough to allow him to feel he understands it. This is a book about HIM, not socialism or any other ism. the only problem is, you end up losing sympathy with the main character when you realise how frustratingly self absorbed he really is.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars overpraised but misunderstood:, 17 Oct 2005
By 
Jacob Arnon (Cambridge, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Indecision (Hardcover)
The title of Kunkel's "Indecision" is the only moment of irony the reader will come across in this overpraised and misunderstood book.
The novel has been praised as another Catcher in the Rye, however, the book reads more like a medieval type conversion narrative than a modern novel. The narrative begins as a sardonic account of an aimless existence; it ends, however, with the narrator Dwight Wilmerding embracing socialism as if it were a religion.
Dwight's conversion to socialism would not be so bad if the author had spent some more time explaining what led up to this decision.
The discussions of socialist dogma itself are perfunctory and a-historical. The main characters say they are concerned about exploitation of the worlds most vulnerable, but the author never bothers to show us any of these exploited characters up close. It's as if the novel doesn't want to get close to the very people the novel champions.
The same is true with the novels characterization of the few minor characters it introduces. We are told about Israeli and German tourists taking drugs together and having a good time. However, they never show up as individuals. The scene is supposed to stand for some kind of reconciliation after the Holocaust. The puerility of this scene is beyond description.
Before that scene is introduced the narrator, who is said to be a good American wasp (Episcopalian no less), is asked by his Argentine born Belgian girl friend if he is Jewish. He replies that his father was half Jewish. There is no reason given in the novel why the Dwight's father (and by implication Dwight) should be part "Jewish." The scene seems to be introduced in order to make the comments about Jews and Germans, as well as the perfunctory and a-historical comments about the Arab Israeli conflict more palatable to the reader.
Dwight's discussion of South American history is equally perfunctory. It lays the blame on the United States for the regions backwardness. What is even worse, at one point in the narrative, the American Pilgrims, and the Spanish colonizers of the South, in centuries past, are described as "white,' hence creating a non existent "racialist" bond.
Finally, the novel's socialism is itself suspect: it is presented as a combination of ideas borrowed from "Brave New World" (but without the criticism leveled at these notions by Huxley) and some notions borrowed from the Frankfurt school. Using drugs to solve social ills was something that Adorno, the leading theorist of the Frankfurt school would have abominated.
Still, I think Benjamin Kunkel a talented, if confused, writer and am looking forward to reading his second novel.
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars overpraised but misunderstood:, 14 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Indecision (Hardcover)
The title of Kunkel's "Indecision" is the only moment of irony the reader will come across in this overpraised and misunderstood book.
The novel has been praised as another Catcher in the Rye, however, the book reads more like a medieval type conversion narrative than a modern novel. The narrative begins as a sardonic account of an aimless existence; it ends, however, with the narrator Dwight Wilmerding embracing socialism as if it were a religion.
Dwight's conversion to socialism would not be so bad if the author had spent some more time explaining what led up to this decision.
The discussions of socialist dogma itself are perfunctory and a-historical. The main characters say they are concerned about exploitation of the worlds most vulnerable, but the author never bothers to show us any of these exploited characters up close. It's as if the novel doesn't want to get close to the very people the novel champions.
The same is true with the novels characterization of the few minor characters it introduces. We are told about Israeli and German tourists taking drugs together and having a good time. However, they never show up as individuals. The scene is supposed to stand for some kind of reconciliation after the Holocaust. The puerility of this scene is beyond description.
Before that scene is introduced the narrator, who is said to be a good American wasp (Episcopalian no less), is asked by his Argentine born Belgian girl friend if he is Jewish. He replies that his father was half Jewish. There is no reason given in the novel why the Dwight's father (and by implication Dwight) should be part "Jewish." The scene seems to be introduced in order to make the comments about Jews and Germans, as well as the perfunctory and a-historical comments about the Arab Israeli conflict more palatable to the reader.
Dwight's discussion of South American history is equally perfunctory. It lays the blame on the United States for the regions backwardness. What is even worse, at one point in the narrative, the American Pilgrims, and the Spanish colonizers of the South, in centuries past, are described as "white,' hence creating a non existent "racialist" bond.
Finally, the novel's socialism is itself suspect: it is presented as a combination of ideas borrowed from "Brave New World" (but without the criticism leveled at these notions by Huxley) and some notions borrowed from the Frankfurt school. Using drugs to solve social ills was something that Adorno, the leading theorist of the Frankfurt school would have abominated.
Still, I think Benjamin Kunkel a talented, if confused, writer and am looking forward to reading his second novel.
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Indecision
Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel (Paperback - 7 July 2006)
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