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Broken Bulbs by Eddie Wright
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Eddie Wright is one of my GoodReads friends. He sent me an email asking me to buy a copy of his bk & to review it. Ordinarily, a review copy wd be sent free to the reviewer. Regardless of that, I looked at the bk's GoodReads page & decided I'd give it a shot. I bought it & then wrote Eddie asking him to do the same for me w/ my bk "footnotes".

NOW what? It's potentially a big responsibility to review a 1st bk by a writer. I cd take the easy way out & give the bk a 5 star glowing review - thusly probably making Eddie happy & possibly insuring a good review of my own bk. &, thankfully, I LIKED "Broken Bulbs", so I'm not faced w/ considering writing a highly critical review out of honest 'necessity'.

INSTEAD, I find my self facing a slightly more complicated middle ground. I'm tempted to give "Broken Bulbs" a 4 star rating b/c I did enjoy it, it was written w/ substantial skill, & I did find it a 'compelling' read in a similar way that I've found bks by some of my favorite pulp writers compelling - writers like Dashiell Hammett or Philip K. Dick. But, no, it's a bit closer to Rudy Rucker or Jonathan Lethem. & I doubt that Wright wd be offended by these comparisons - given that an advertising review on the back of the bk reads: "philip dick wd be proud.".

This is a novel about attempting to be something, about attempting to be inspired, about being in love, about addiction. Some of these are, perhaps, somewhat reminiscent of Dick's "A Scanner Darkly". HOWEVER, this novella doesn't quite reach the profundity of detail & despair & imagination that Dick's novel does. Wch isn't to say that it's 'bad'! Far from it. It does mean that it's a bk by Wright, NOT by Dick, et al.. - As it shd be!

In fact, there were a few turns in the novel that were writerly enuf to invigorate my attn & stir my admiration. I particularly liked the scene where the young boy (I don't want to be too spoiler-specific here) reads his short story to his class.

"Broken Bulbs" is written in varying subtly interwoven & inter-related voices. A part of the joy of reading it is having these relations revealed. Older pulp novels typically had a structure where one narrative thread is left hanging at the end of one chapter to be replaced by another narrative thread left hanging - at wch point the 1st is returned to, etc.. "Broken Bulbs" is a product of an age where such a propelling strategy is no longer sufficient - instead, it's more of a meta-narrative - where the propulsion is kept going by different levels of fictionalizing - & this strategy is quite successful.

All in all, I think this is a very good 1st novella & I'll certainly read more by Wright as it, hopefully, comes along. It is, though, a FIRST novella & Wright has, most likely, greater things in him. The language here is quite good but it remains to be more fully developed. As such, I refrain from giving it a star rating. If I were to rate it a 4 star bk, I wd be giving it credit due to more practiced writers, if I were to give it a 3 star rating, I might seem to be insufficiently enthusiastic. A 1 or 2 star rating wd be too low, a 5 star rating wd be too high.

At any rate, this story will speak to many people who're struggling to make something out of their life & who're grasping for inspiration in ways that aren't always the healthiest, eh? & Wright tells the story well.
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Reading Progress

March 25, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 29, 2009 – Shelved as: literature
March 29, 2009 – Finished Reading

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