Poetry Madness
 
 

Reviews From


Indiespensable

spacer
Review-a-Day
Esquire
Wednesday, July 4th, 2007
Voice your opinion about this review by
posting a comment on the Powells.com blog


 

Before: A Novel

by Irini Spanidou

New York, New York

A review by John Burgman

You really want to help the characters in Irini Spanidou's new novel, Before. They exist in a past version of New York City -- a somber 1970s version, where cocaine and 'ludes are constantly taken amid a backdrop of hippie and punk music. You hope things for everyone will get better, not worse. But you've seen enough episodes of VH-1's Behind the Music to know that things never got better in the 70s. That'd be too easy.

The novel follows Beatrice, a stunning yet dejected 25 year-old, as her marriage to a B-list artist falls apart. She attempts to fill that looming void by drinking and finding love elsewhere. (Some things don't change.) But the void is too deep, the city too unforgiving.

Spanidou's writing is appropriately hypnotic given the slenderness of the plot, and luckily she never heads too far down the woe-is-me road with Beatrice. You'll feel for her situation. But more, you'll be enthralled by the squalid bars and lonely nights that helped cause it. And that's the key: you may be disgusted or scared by the broken city Spanidou writes about, but you won't be able to resist a visit.


Click here to subscribeSubscribe to Esquire and Save 75%

Get 12 fantastic issues of Esquire magazine for only $8. The best culture, entertainment, style, financial advice, women and more delivered right to your door every month ? at an incredible 81% savings off the newsstand price! What could be better... or easier?

Click here to subscribe now!

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.