Eric Phetteplace's Reviews > The Rainbow Stories

The Rainbow Stories by William T. Vollmann
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Mar 19, 12

bookshelves: prose
Recommended for: San Franciscans
Read from February 07 to March 19, 2012

Vollmann writes like someone who loves writing, repeatedly getting carried away. His sentences build an impossible amount of momentum such that you hardly notice they've run on for pages & the metaphors match, often becoming comically overwrought. All in all, Rainbow Stories was thoroughly entertaining if a bit unbalanced. The stories range from stark realism to ridiculous fantasy & often are at their most successful when they're mixing both, as in the "scintillant orange" chapter (by far my favorite) where Babylon is sometimes conflated with the present day in interesting or funny ways (e.g. "Babylon's Joint Chiefs of Staff"). On the other hand, the "white" chapter is a simple, straightforward portrait of San Francisco skinheads but very compelling nonetheless. In between, "blue" drags on far too long without a purpose & a few other chapters wear out their welcome. I really enjoyed Vollmann's raw enthusiasm & the San Francisco scenery though so this was a wonderful book to read.
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