21 August 2008

So I read this: Adverbs by Daniel Handler.

I didn't really know all that much about Lemony Snicket when I was given Daniel Handler's first novel The Basic Eight, which is exceptional- like Fight Club for girls. I also dug his novel Watch Your Mouth, which was written as an opera, which isn't that much of a surprise considering Handler is an occasional Magnetic Field and you know how good ol' Stephin Merritt is about operas and such.

But it makes me ecstatic that the success of the Lemony Snicket books has allowed Daniel Handler to experiment with the form under his own name, and Adverbs is a humdinger. I don't know if it completely works, but when it hits, it does so beautifully. Adverbs is a sort of rondelay that explores love, birds, and disaster, in many different varieties.

This isn't an easy book to get in to, and at times things seem deliberately difficult. The connections between stories and characters seem arbitrary and elliptical throughout, though when everything does in fact get brought together, it adds the kind of thematic and narrative urgency that makes you want to go back and reread all that you've experienced, so that's a recommendation.

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