karen's Reviews > The Great Lenore

The Great Lenore by J.M. Tohline
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's review
Aug 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: pretty-girls-make-graves, from-publisher-or-author

this book really makes me want to read Zuleika Dobson again, even though technically it is a retelling of The Great Gatsby.

it's probably nothing like zd except that it centers around a beautiful, vivacious woman who drives all the boys to distraction, it is both comical and deeply tragic, and there is probably a lot of drinking (i don't actually remember the drinking-quantity in z.d.)

so richard is a novelist, struggling with that second-novel curse, house-sitting in one of the wealthy enclaves of nantucket when he finds himself enmeshed in the walking greek tragedy of the family next door.

lenore is a woman who has a catastrophic effect on every man who meets her, and she is married to the elder son of richard's new neighbors. she is beautiful and charismatic and the sweetheart side of the femme fatale coin. and the plane she was supposed to be on has just crashed, leaving no survivors.

it is a perfect opportunity to see how people really feel about you, right?

so richard becomes her investigator-of-sorts, and oh, the things he discovers...

it is a satisfyingly sad little book. some of the transitional elements are blurrier than i usually like, but this gives the book a dreamlike quality, and since the narrator is usually drunk or stoned or just confused, this actually works out pretty nicely. he is one of those "empty vessel" narrators, who drifts around as the perfect observer, but his inebriated state makes him an unreliable observer, so it gets complicated.

we don't get to see too much of lenore, not enough to understand why she is the greatest chick since sliced bread, but all of the characters' comments to richard involve some sort of "you just had to know her" statement which makes for a nice authorial sidestep; he doesn't have to make her irresistible on paper, because she is only beautiful in flight.

i recommend this as an end-of-summer read, when all that sunshiny promise starts fading into dying leaves and chilling snow. that is, if sorrow is your bag. sorrow is definitely my bag.

in searching online to show off the nice edition of z.d. i have, i came across this cover, which might be the biggest crime against literature ever:

like it's some piece of summer beach blanket erotica.
i laff.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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The Crimson Fucker FIRST

karen i was wondering when you would show up....

karen nothing overt, just sly nods to it. i love gatsby, i just wish more people i knew had read zuleika. or i should read it again, having read gatsby several times...

The Crimson Fucker karen wrote: "i was wondering when you would show up...."

A troll is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to!!!!!!

i was waiting for you to subtly remind me of my debt of votes to you with one of your smooth "vote, bitch" messages! but you was busy this week!

karen pfff - i know you will fulfill your obligation when you get around to it - call it a wedding present.

The Crimson Fucker you not even going to call me a nerd for quoting gandalf!?

karen i could also say "you have a giant 'fro", but no one needs to point out the obvious...

The Crimson Fucker I no longer have a giant fro... that makes me sad! I want a giant fro!! Buaaa!

karen awww...

The Crimson Fucker I got a tiny one... but its growin!

karen twhs

Jacqueline Elizabeth Fabius did you really read that book in7 hours
-Jacqueline .lets be friends

karen i'm not sure where your math is coming from?

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