Jim Coughenour's Reviews > Next

Next by James Hynes
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's review
Apr 05, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: darkandfunny
Read from April 04 to 05, 2010

How much frazzled introspection can you fit into 3 seconds? Quite a bit, as it turns out. By the end of his new book, James Hynes shifts "stream of consciousness" into shooting the rapids.

Next – like Ulysses or Mrs Dalloway – is a story squeezed into a single day, and if you're shambling through the tragicomedy of middle age like I am, and like Kevin Quinn, its mostly clueless protagonist, you'll probably want to reach for an Ativan before you've finished the first hour.

I won't try to summarize the story. (If you're thinking about reading this book, you should ignore anyone who does.) A few years ago I read The Lecturer's Tale, compulsively tracking the tumbleweed of allusions in the margins like an acrostic addict. Next is something altogether more ambitious. Quinn's flickering consciousness luxuriates in guillotine observations (Cirque de Soleil "was what entertainment would have been like if the Soviet Union had won the cold war"), suffers far too many Proust-on-Viagra recollections, and delivers one hell of an ending.

When I finished the book, I took another look at the cover and didn't know whether to shudder or to smile.

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04/04/2010 page 20

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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message 1: by Lauren (new) - added it

Lauren Jim, did you read Publish and Perish? I think you'd like that.

message 2: by Kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat Warren I loved "Publish and Perish!"

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