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Arkansas (McSweeney's Rectangulars) by John Brandon
Arkansas (McSweeney's Rectangulars)

amandafrench, February 17, 2008

Went to a reading last weekend and was super-impressed by John Brandon. This is how much: his reading from his novel made me really want to find out what happened, and yet I didn't buy the book in the store. Why? Because I wanted to make sure that there were enough copies for everyone else! I knew that one way or another I was gonna buy the book, and they were making noises at the reading about maybe running out of copies, and I didn't want to derail anyone else's impulse buy.

Well, I bought the book yesterday and read it today, and it's really the best-crafted book I've read in ages, maybe since Dogs of Babel. It's kind of a cross between Pulp Fiction and The Stranger, or Elmore Leonard meets Ernest Hemingway, if you can imagine that -- a very tersely narrated book about a few guys who drift along until they become criminals. There's enough plot to keep things interesting, definitely a little suspense and a couple surprises, but on the whole this is a book about what it's like to be without proper purpose, the texture of that, the recognition of that, and yet the inexorability of action and effect.

Beautiful prose. All rock bands will henceforth be "noisome quartets" to me.
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