Richard's Reviews > Ten Thousand Saints

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
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Jul 07, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-12
Read from July 07 to 11, 2012

Jeezum Crow, I loved this book. I actually clapped a couple times while reading it.

I wasn't impressed by the opening at all... a couple of downwardly mobile druggies meet up with an uptown Lolita and go to a party where the night ends in violence and accidental death... like early Brett Easton Ellis directed by Whit Stillman... I almost set it aside after the first couple chapters. I didn't think the characters would engage me.

I'm glad I stuck with it, because once we meet the dead kid's brother, my interest started to flicker - and Henderson is quickly revealed to be a less jaded and more sympathetic storyteller than she seems at first. I was repeatedly won over by characters that I thought I would be unable to relate to. That's a special kind of magic.

My only serious complaint is that much of the novel deals with the early straight edge scene, and although Henderson acknowledges that violence was commonplace to those kids, she does so with a "boys will be boys" wink. That's not how I remember it. I remember a bunch of hotheaded assholes, even more prone to violence than the neo-nazis that they otherwise resembled - not the starved for affection bodhisattvas that make up the Lost Boy tribe here. But hey, it's a story. I'll buy it (with some misgiving).

Anyway, those things seem minor in the context of a novel that literally made the world disappear as I was reading it. Hugely recommended.

(I would compare this to both The Art of Fielding and A Home at the End of the World, but I liked it more than either of those. And I liked AHatEotW a lot.)
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