Rupert's Reviews > Generation Loss

Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
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Apr 19, 2010

really liked it
Read from March 27 to April 19, 2010

This was a great lucky find. I saw it in a bookstore and the jacket copy grabbed me with "a cross between Pat Highsmith and Patti Smith". Of course that kind of copy is usually bullshit and this was partly also. The only Highsmith I found in it was the main character who came across a lot like Highsmith was supposed to in person. But the Patti Smith part was true in that the first part of the book deals with the protagonist's youth as an early star of the underground arts in mid-'70s New York.

The writing itself was fantastic. The first novel in recent times to truly remind me of the spirit of Chandler. A deeply poetic and alienated character wandering through the ghosts of the present. Nice ruminations on what constitutes "true" art also and on the struggle to keep whatever it is inside yourself alive that makes you create art. The plot, as most literary crime novels do, goes a bit crazy at the end, but still an amazing fulfilling read.

When I looked up the author's other books it seems like she also shares with the original hardboiled crew a wild patchwork resume of writing whatever it takes to pay the bills. Not sure what to try by her next, but I can't imagine this is her only serious book.
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