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Posted January 26, 2001
Tom Robbins Meets Kurt Vonnegut
I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that this is not a novel, but rather a collection of short stories. I am not a fan of short stories, so my review should be taken with a grain of salt. I was impressed with many of the themes in the chapters of this book. I especially enjoyed the last, entitled 'The Dream', as it explores humans' dissatisfaction with being happy. However, there were also many chapters that can only be described as tedious. This tedium is compounded by the disjointed feel of the entire work, which is only thinly veiled by an attempt to include the woodworm in every plot line. In the end, I was glad I muddled through, if for no other reason, my favorite chapter was the last. I am intrigued enough by Julian Barnes writing style and content that I will be attempting an actual novel of his, but this one I should have passed up.
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