Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Literary Study in Terminal Boringness- not for the faint hearted, 12 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Stone Arabia (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must admit in recent years to have become very critical of the `literary novel' genre. Too many times books really do not live up to expectations and, increasingly, appear to be written by a select group of publishing world insiders/luvvies, favoured Eng. Lit. `intellectuals', and a scattering of other residents of pseuds corner that are currently being smiled upon by the august protectors of the `Literary Establishment.'

Well this may be a bit of a death wish on my part as I can sense all you sensitive types itching to press the negative feedback button, but I really don't care any more. This book is yet another of the `fails to live up to expectations/hype/serious-publication-says-must-read-reviews' canon, and to my mind, is actually a bit rubbish.

The premise of Stone Arabia is promising enough and seems to be interestingly contemporary, with perhaps the potential for a serious take on popular culture in the offing. That's what attracted me to the book initially, anyway. But sadly, it falls flat almost from the outset.

The story centres on the relationship of late forty-something Denise and her brother, Nik, a talented but ultimately failed rock musician who very quickly in his youth withdrew into a fantasy world, where he fills shelves in his home with his `Chronicles'- essentially made up diaries of his music/bands/reviews/tours/album artwork etc etc. Throughout this time he has however worked in a bar, and produced music for an audience of on average two people- him and his sister.

It's a good basis for tale, but unfortunately Spiotta gets all the emphasis wrong. We don't get enough of Nik, who is a fascinating character, and too much of his sister Denise who is, to be blunt, terminally boring. In fact the whole book gets off on the wrong foot by too soon including an over lengthy faux letter from the Chronicles supposedly written by Denise but of course written by Nik, charting Denise's anxieties, failures, shortcomings and one-dimensionality. Unfortunately upon encountering the real Denise, there is nothing to dispel the notion that Nik was actually spot on, and there is nothing more to say.

It is this concentration on Denise that really is the downfall of this book as far as I'm concerned. There is too much of her and her...relentless boringness. Now if the author was trying to make this a study of how boring a person can be, well fair enough; but a captivating read, it does not make.

So another `Literary Event' that will come and go to the eventual lasting interest of only a few darlings in the US/UK chattering classes. Personally, I'm going to cheer myself up now by reading a book with strippers in it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Sep 2012 09:49:16 BDT
BS on parade says:
Very good review.

I think it's a book that doesn't have much to offer for the non-music press reader. It would be interesting to have the context for your review if you can confirm if you regularly read music magazines or blogs?
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

3.9 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
£14.99 £11.33
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,234