Friday, November 9, 2012

Busy Monsters by William Giraldi

A word obsessed guy sets off on a quest across America to win back his lady.

Charles Homar, our self conscious hero, is dumped by his marine biologist love Gillian Lee, after she seizes an opportunity to hunt the giant Kraken. He objects, and three months in jail later, journeys to find her, encountering heros and monsters, until at last the lovers are tearfully reunited on the docks of the New England Aquarium.

I didn't really like this. It reminded me of Swamplandia!, that is, a story that sounds great on paper -- the chasing of the Kraken, the hunting of Bigfoot, a quest across the United States, but once into the actual reading, despite all the driving around the country, the story lacked forward momentum. The real emotions are under glass or under a mile of ice or something; they are not being transmitted. I never bought that Charles was in love with Gillian. In fact, Gillian does not seem at all real to me. Each night when I picked up the book to read my allotted 50 pages, I couldn't quite remember/care what was going on with Charles.

Although I liked the clever idea that he was a weekly columnist for a magazine (why not a blogger) and everyone he visits on his journey is aware of his prior columns and comments on them.

In Nabokov sentences are delightful and funny and erudite -- mini masterpieces. Here the sentences felt strained and reading the prose was like chopping through the underbrush.

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