I decided to read this because it won the Pulitzer for fiction. Set in two very different places -- in pre-fall Saigon and contemporary America -- this novel is about a guy who “two faces” -- a man whose allegiance (to which country? to which friends? to which ideals?) is constantly in flux.
If one listens to an audio version of a novel, has one “read” it? I listened to this novel in two sittings and two jogging sessions. And with the author’s voice in my earbuds, it certainly feels to me like I experienced the fullness of this wacky, intense, gut-wrenching novel. What delighted and impressed me most about it was how successfully Miranda July revealed the protagonist’s interior world — much of which is entirely fabricated, unbeknownst to her. Another aspect of this novel that pleasantly surprised me was how often characters “turned/”shifted” from positive to negative, or negative to positive (and yes, I’ve been reading Robert McKee …)
The author of this collection was recently celebrated at One Story’s 9th annual Literary Debutante Ball in Brooklyn. The next morning, hungover from that very “ball,” I ripped through the first few essays in Knapp’s book. My fave essay from this collection ended up being “Neighborhood Watch".
From the front lines, landing on the beach at Normandy, war brides, the aftermath and everything in between, Turkel gives firsthand accounts via in-depth interviews of people who lived through WWII. It’s not just about the war, it’s an honest view of humanity from every angle.
I haven’t read other Marquez (I know) and I can’t speak to the translation of this book, but I found it hilarious and so well-done in every way.