Zach's Reviews > Hot Pink

Hot Pink by Adam Levin
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's review
Mar 28, 2012

it was amazing
Read in March, 2012

There's something about the way Adam Levin plays with your expectations of innocence. For all the shocking, fucked-up shit they engage in, his characters are psychologically vulnerable and sheltered. In a way, each of the stories in Hot Pink is a study of human interaction as performance; this is how we act when we think others are looking. Hell, this is how we act when no one is looking, when the only person we're trying to fool is the self. The climax of each story tends to be the moment when this act, this self-delusion, finally falls away, but not completely, because it's the act that teaches the lesson and the lesson is learned in the moment the act is recognized. It's not about overcoming artifice, it's about understanding it.

Levin's characters are all incomplete in an adolescent way (even when they're older). They are questing characters. They are searching and the method of their search is to pretend to be this thing that they think they are supposed to be (The story "How to Play The Guy" is basically the instruction manual on how to engage in this social pretending).

Levin's novel, The Instructions, was, at over a thousand pages, the best three books I read last year, and Hot Pink is a satisfying follow-up. I will say, at the risk of pigeonholing the author, that I like his writing best when the narrative voice is closest to that of Gurion, the ten-year-old genius narrator of The Instructions. It's nice, though, to see the full versatility of Levin's writing, and to see his trademark themes of violence and innocence play out in other voices.
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