Rachel's Reviews > Unfamiliar Fishes

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
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's review
Jan 03, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: read-2011
Read from March 19 to April 09, 2011

I had hoped that Unfamiliar Fishes would be as good as Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation or The Partly Cloudy Patriot, but I suppose that was naive of me. The book of hers it most resembles, which is unsurprising in retrospect, is her next-most-recent book, The Wordy Shipmates. Like The Wordy Shipmates, Unfamiliar Fishes is boring and hard to follow. I believe both of these problems stem from the book's lack of structure. There are no chapters. Characters drift in and out in such a way that it's hard to keep track of who is who or why we should care. It only really gets any momentum going in the last thirty pages--before that it feels pretty aimless. The bright side is that all these things are less true for this book than they were for The Wordy Shipmates (at least there's a clear ending that the book is explicitly headed toward). So it is better than the last one, if not by a lot.

I'm still going to read whatever Vowell publishes in the future, but I can't see myself getting really excited about it again.
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Reading Progress

20.0% "I'm starting to worry this has the same problems as The Wordy Shipmates (which I did not particularly like)."
75.0% "Bleh. So disappointing."
02/10/2016 marked as: read

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