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Posted May 17, 2009
The literature of the Twit
"The Selected Works of TS Spivet," though real neato to look at and flip through, is a highly unoriginal and tiresome first novel, a watered-down rip off, basically, of everything from, like, David Foster Wallace to Dave Eggers. That doesn't leave too wide a swathe to wade through, to be sure (um, David Foster Eggers and Dave Wallace are kind of the same writer, me thinks, though Eggers probably isn't as sad, what with the hot wife, the movies, and the publishing empire and all), but wide enough to do something original. Footnotes: check. Pithy, Safran Foer-esque writing: check. Weird/hipster name: check. Annoying narrator: check. That's what I got from "TS Spivet," along with a better understanding of why literature is dying (it's not dying, it just seems like that in the mainstream press) and why publishing houses can't pay real writers real advances (yes, I am a bitter writer whose advance could cover a pair of sneakers, if that). Lason's novel is the most recent and offensive example of what I can't help but calling the Literature of the Twit, annoying, smarter-than-thou writing with annoying, smarter-than-though characters/narrators. Think Safran Foer, but also DeLillo's lesser novels like "Endgame" and even Holden Caulfield. Here's hoping Larson's next outing ups the characterization and the writing, and downs the fancy fonts and distracting dioramas.
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