Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles: A Novel

( 4 )

Overview

A bold, arresting new work of fiction from the acclaimed author of Everything Matters!

In this tour de force of imagination, Ron Currie asks why literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths, creating yet again a genre-bending novel that will at once dazzle, move, and provoke.

The protagonist of Ron Currie, Jr.’s new novel has a problem­—or rather, several of them. He’s a writer whose latest book was destroyed in a fire. He’s mourning ...

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Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles: A Novel

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Overview

A bold, arresting new work of fiction from the acclaimed author of Everything Matters!

In this tour de force of imagination, Ron Currie asks why literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths, creating yet again a genre-bending novel that will at once dazzle, move, and provoke.

The protagonist of Ron Currie, Jr.’s new novel has a problem­—or rather, several of them. He’s a writer whose latest book was destroyed in a fire. He’s mourning the death of his father, and has been in love with the same woman since grade school, a woman whose beauty and allure is matched only by her talent for eluding him. Worst of all, he’s not even his own man, but rather an amalgam of fact and fiction from Ron Currie’s own life. When Currie the character exiles himself to a small Caribbean island to write a new book about the woman he loves, he eventually decides to fake his death, which turns out to be the best career move he’s ever made. But fame and fortune come with a price, and Currie learns that in a time of twenty-four-hour news cycles, reality TV, and celebrity Twitter feeds, the one thing the world will not forgive is having been told a deeply satisfying lie.

What kind of distinction could, or should, be drawn between Currie the author and Currie the character?  Or between the book you hold in your hands and the novel embedded in it? Whatever the answers, Currie, an inventive writer always eager to test the boundaries of storytelling in provocative ways, has essential things to impart along the way about heartbreak, reality, grief, deceit, human frailty, and blinding love.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Chris Bohjalian
…I was nearly asked to leave the waiting room outside the endoscopy clinic at a Vermont hospital, thanks to Ron Currie Jr.'s new novel, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles…I reached a scene so blisteringly funny that I laughed as I hadn't laughed in years: We're talking demonic, unstoppable, don't-sit-next-to-that-guy howls…any novel that can make time fly in an endoscopy waiting room has real merit. I wasn't always proud of myself for liking this book, but most of the time I sure did.
Library Journal
Trust the author of the acclaimed and decidedly unorthodox God Is Dead and Everything Matters! to craft an arresting bit of metafiction. His protagonist, a blend of fact and fiction from his own life, is so distraught by his father's death, a book lost to fire, and an unreciprocated love that he hides out on a Caribbean island to write a new book about the mess. Then he fakes his own death, which brings him fame, fortune, and big trouble. In our crusadingly transparent world of tweets and reality TV, playing with facts is not appreciated.
Kirkus Reviews
A postmodern love story, self-consciously playful in a Vonnegut-ian way. At the beginning of the novel, Ron, the narrator and a writer, promises us a work that will be "capital-T True," though he's also careful to make a distinction between Truth and Fact. The object of his affection, adoration and obsession is Emma, someone he's known for over 20 years, since well before he escorted her to the senior prom. Now they're in their mid-30s--he's still besotted, and she's coming off a divorce. Although they've briefly gotten back together, she now feels the need for some "distance," so Ron hies himself to a Caribbean island, in part to write about their complex relationship in a new novel. While there, he temporarily takes up with Charlotte, a college student who finds it impossible to comprehend Ron's continuing infatuation with Emma. On the day he breaks up with Charlotte, Emma comes down to the island, and eventually Ron confesses his relationship with Charlotte. Emma is understandably pissed, so she leaves, and Ron tries to commit suicide by driving his Jeep off a pier. And here's where things get both crazy and interesting: While everyone thinks he's dead, he gets a fake passport and leaves for several years to Sinai. Meanwhile, his manuscript is discovered and published--and it sells 3 million copies. When he decides to return to assume his former life, everyone is outraged--his mother, Emma and the reading public, who feel they've been manipulated. (Some of his readers even sue him for "mental anguish.") But Currie's narrative is not just about the self-conscious act of writing a novel about Emma--it's also about the death of his father and the possibility of machines themselves becoming conscious beings in an act called a singularity. Free-wheeling--and at times both moving and hilarious.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670025343
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 2/7/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,303,233
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Currie, Jr., is the winner of the 2009 Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the New York Public Library Young Lion’s Award for his acclaimed debut, God Is Dead. His 2009 novel, Everything Matters!, was an Indie Next Pick and one of Amazon’s 100 Top Books of 2009 and was named by the Los Angeles Times as among the Best Fiction of 2009. He lives in Waterville, Maine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I did not read any of Currie¿s earlier works, so I did not know

    I did not read any of Currie’s earlier works, so I did not know until now that his first novel, Everything Matters!, was so well received. But I could tell upon beginning this book that this was someone who bumped up hard against sudden celebrity—those moments when strangers seem to think they know you intimately. Not so fast, Currie seems to say.

    The book tells of a character named Ron Currie who is perpetually “in recovery” over the love of a woman, Emma, who returns his love but marries another. The book’s narrator leads a life of dissipation on a Caribbean isle while ostensibly writing another book. The book he ends up writing is all about Emma.

    This is a book about the nature of fiction. A novel, by its very definition, is fiction, or lies, or “not factual.” But Currie goes to some lengths to point out that it is not necessarily “untruth.” Fiction may be more truth than real truth, he seems to say.
    “From the perspective of a novelist, there is a brand of lying that feels more honest than the actual facts of an event. Lying as a way to move closer to the truth, or to illuminate how something actually feels in a way that mere facts cannot.”
    At its best, this novel could be read as a defense for James Frey, whose fictional memoir, A Million Little Pieces, about his time battling drug addiction, hit the world stage like a bomb. Frey was giving a better truth, a more real truth, and those truths were no less true than the truth.

    Fiction, Currie tells us, does not tell us how much he loves his Emma. It tells us how much we readers love our own special person. It gives us words for things we cannot articulate, but that we feel none-the-less. The closeness we feel with an author is illusion, since they are lying and we are not. The feelings the author evokes are real. The author sets us up for connection, and if he succeeds, we do connect.

    Anyway, to get to the end, we spend quite a lot of time navel-gazing…at Currie’s navel. This is self-conscious literature by someone who suggests that fiction succeeds when the author writes “honestly,” and allows readers to believe. If so, that bit about dissipation on the island felt too honest, and evoked in me the feeling that Currie knew a little too much about drinking, fighting, rough sex, and driving off piers with the intent to kill. True or not, it’s a l-i-t-t-l-e too close for comfort, and I want to tell him to knock it off. I want to tell him to have a look at Saunder's new book, Tenth of December: Stories. This is someone who came out on the other side of "what fiction is" with his sense of humor intact.

    So, what are Flimsy Little Plastic Things? I’m not telling. You go find out for yourself. But I’m sort of scratching my head over the title still. I have no idea why they didn’t name it The Singularity.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Ttttttttt

    Tttttttttt

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  • Posted September 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've heard great things about Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by

    I've heard great things about Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.

    This is a novel veiled as a true story about a fictional (but very close to real) Ron Currie, and how after the love of his life Emma banishes him to a remote island, he ends up faking his death and selling millions of books.

    Really interesting concept.  But in reality, it was Ron Currie pining over his love for Emma, which is not my thing.  I also didn't love the characters of Ron or Emma.  Both seem very selfish.

    I wasn't a fan of this book, but then again, I'm not a fan of anything love-story-like.  And even though this wasn't traditional love story, it was, in essence, a man pining for a woman.

    You can check out Leah's review from Books Speak Volumes for a much different perspective (she gave it 5 stars!).

    What's the craziest thing you've done for love?

    Thanks for reading,

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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