7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Neurotic and narcissistic but oddly engaging,
This review is from: How Should a Person Be? (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you're looking for a traditional `story', this will be a challenging read. Written in a self-consciously postmodern fashion - fragments, emails, recorded conversations - this is a meditation on identity, art, sex, and gender.
Sheila is a playwright who can't write her play, and her friends are artists - parts of this book are witty and smart (`how could I castrate my mind - neuter it! - and build up a resistance to know what was mine from what was everyone else's, and finally be in the world in my own way?'), parts are banal and mundane... like life itself.
This is theoretically-informed and draws on modern critical theory on art, text, psychoanalysis, and gender. In pondering why it's ok to spend time perfecting a work of art but not a sexual act (!), for example, this poses some provocative questions, and asks what is the role of the artist in a postmodern, capitalist society.
So this is one of those books which presses on the boundaries fiction, of narrative, of the novel, without providing easy definitions.
It's neurotic, self-consciously narcissistic, sometimes boring, sometimes obtuse, sometimes funny, sometimes really quite wise. I'm glad I read this but if you've hated other recent postmodern fiction (Swimming Home, Communion Town,Signs of Life) or the writing of people like Barthes, then this probably isn't for you.