association-list a veritable mint for dunning-kruggerands

2 - Liberation, by Brian Slattery

A book with a very long subtitle, which kind of gives you a hint as to what’s coming. A lot of words are used to tell a story that really doesn’t need all, or even maybe most of them. Interesting work from a new writer, but ultimately cannot seal the deal because the built world here is too close to our own, and too serious, to generally end up taking a back seat to the emotional struggles of the cartoonish and deeply simple central character. You’re also spattered beginning to end with little tangent infodumps that trade heavily in often second-hand relic Americana. Overall, it adds up to not very much that adds to the main narrative. America is simplified and it’s the simplified America that’s valorized and castigated and reverentially mocked, so too much of it seems to miss. It’s a book that seems to think too much of its movers and shakers and too little of the common people. It is also in love with its somewhat abstracted voice despite the fact that the voice very often robs the events of book of any immediacy they might otherwise have. There is a lot of music in the book, but little of it works with the text, either being buried in the infodumps where you’re already bored and want to go back to the story now or they’re just tacked on, like the author just realized that he hasn’t mentioned anything musical in two pages.

It’s almost a tic. Frustrating.

There are a lot of good parts here. I think that Slattery could produce some really interesting material if he manages to get all of the elements marching in line.

<-- 1 - North Wind, by Gwyneth Jones 3 - Winterstrike, by Liz Williams -->