by Robert Coover
The first paragraph of this novel got my attention. I can say I really liked the first two pages. After that, things weren’t so good.
The most interesting question raised by this novel was “how do you decide if an author is being misogynist or if it is just his despicable characters who are?”
There are plenty of despicable characters in this novel: John, his fraternity brothers, their children, and some of their wives. I didn’t like one of them, and also didn’t hate them in that enjoy-hating kind of way that makes it interesting. Confession: I skim-read the through the last half of the book, because I could not stand to read each word any more, yet I had invested enough time that I wanted to finish.
A big part of the problem is that I kept waiting for the story to take off, and it never did. It never built on the beginning, it just kept steamrolling along, indifferent. It is one of those books, painfully long, that you can just tell pride themselves on never getting to the point, because that is after all, part of the point they are making. (Like David Foster Wallace in style, but less interesting.)
I suppose Coover was going for a bitingly funny look at small town psychosis and lust, but I don’t think he got there. I haven’t disliked a book this much in quite some time. Not recommended.