aPriL does feral sometimes's Reviews > Busy Monsters

Busy Monsters by William Giraldi
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Oct 07, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: why-does-everyone-love-this-ick-ick, finished-reading-but-i-hated-it, literary, metafiction
Read from October 03 to 07, 2011 , read count: 1

Literary horse manure. However, if the book is a satire of the literary novel instead of a comedic literary novel then I would rate it three stars instead of one star. And yes, I'm aware of the irony. Actually, this book makes more sense as a satire of the literary genre rather than as an amusing literary fiction, but who knows? For the last 20 years or so most published literary fiction is the same book over and over. It's as if all the writers of such books went to the same MFA class, taught by the same Master Teacher, at the same school in the same year. All of these literary "masterpieces" cover the same 20 Great Book Allusions and I'm REALLY looking for the next new proper MFA-approved literary conventions to begin since we HAVE to have such rules apparently for educated Approval. There are some cracks in the monument that the powers that represent the official Literary Canon has built to represent the Ott century of Great Books, but I'm getting very disgusted by the books I pick up because they are highly commended by ALL the booksellers recommending such books as Amsterdam, only to discover that for the next five years almost EVERY literary book thereafter is an Amsterdam, thinly disguised, as an example. I end up bored to death and feeling suckered. Thank goodness for all the pop literature which fills the void being created by sterile 'official' current literary genre copycats. Anyway.

The only character who is truly interesting to me in the book is Gillian, but most of the book is about Charles, who seems to me more of a poser of literary temperament than being any Greek hero or storyteller. Charles is not heroic and he's more blockhead than writer. All the characters sound like Charles Homar, unfortunately. He sounds like those over-the-top actor parodies in those 1930 black and white movies they show on TCM cable channel, the ones where the plots revolve around a boarding house full of actors where silly comedic situations abound around a couple falling in love while surrounded with ridiculous people, one of which is an older actor quoting Shakespeare a lot and dressed like a stage actor. Or its a huge house where several family members live, most of whom are comically crazy and go about blowing horns or firing off cannons at the same time every day, while the aunts poison lonely people and a crazed criminal dressed like a vampire lurks around corners looking for buried treasure. However, this book lacks charm and originality, unlike many of those old movies. Unfortunately, this book revolves around that old silly Shakespearean actor who is the lover searching for a way to either get his ex-fiance, Gillian, returned to him or discover a way to ease his aching heart. He is not old, or an actor, but a writer of a 'memoir' column, published in some obscure publication that all the other characters read all the time so they know who he is. His best friend is Groot, a black ops military man who sends poor Homar on a quest around the country meeting up with guides who seek to discover monsters of legend such as Sasquatch. He also meets people who are a bit legendary monster in their human personas; beautiful goddesses, body-builders, con artists faking UFO contacts, haunted house hunters, etc. He cannot help putting everything into his column, including a murder attempt, despite promises to the contrary. Several of his subjects mention that they don't talk the way Homar said they did in his column. The language of the book is awesome, the story is not. This is another "The Iliad and the Odyssey" literary allusion metayawn.

Let's see. Homar - Homer. The Trojan war of desires, Jillian vs. Homar. The quest with monsters - squid, Loch Ness Monster,Sasquatch, UFO visitors, ghosts.

That out of the way, Homar is an American living in modern America, who has elderly parents, a best friend, a job as a writer and makes a lot of mistakes in judgement resulting in small smile comedy, which is this book. He had a little brother who died young from cancer, and at one point in the book, (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

10/03/2011 page 56
25.0% "Although I somewhat admire Charles Homar's ability to turn a phrase, the way he ordinarily speaks is annoying as hell. Gillian Lee sure knows how to pick them-not."
10/05/2011 page 128
57.0% "People is monsters."

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