Right up front: I not sure if I can finish Meyer. I’ve hemmed, I’ve hawed, but here’s the thing: not enjoying it. It’s drudgery, it’s a slog, it’s not enjoyable, it’s killing my Dixon buzz. The oft-aforementioned trademark zest is lacking. It’s not an awful book; it’s far from an awful book. It starts with Meyer – a writer – trying to work through some blockage. From the summary:
Meyer proceeds to rifle through all the possible aspects of his life that could make for good fiction, and to try whatever it takes to get writing again. Sometimes sex with his wife helps, so he tries that without luck-several times, just to be sure. He wonders if he should try sex with one of the neighbors. He wonders if he should try writing about his parents’ death . . . again. He wonders about concocting awful things for himself and his family. He wonders about concocting wonderful things for himself and his family. He wonders what he’s doing, and tries sex with his wife again.
True enough, excerpt that the usual digressions all seem to lose steam as he follows them. In a way, I guess it’s a successful look at a writer trying out different approaches to getting things moving again, with limited and variable levels of success. Except maybe less on the successful side – ideas are teased out, but they don’t seem to go anywhere. Maybe further on in the book the loose ends are gathered up, but in the meantime, it reads like your oldest uncle regaling you with unbearable levels of detail as he tries to remember who said what to who, on which vacation, and which friend took a picture of that day and mailed it, but to which address? Which, again, could be considered success based on the theme of the book, but as for an enjoyable read, not so much. Not for me, not given my already truncated time for reading; I need to squeeze out every ounce of enjoyment before I either fall asleep or have to go change a diaper.
It’s a sad feeling when you come across that first book that you just aren’t digging by an author you really, really like (The Brooklyn Follies, After Dark, and now this) – especially when you’ve looked forward to it so. Makes me afraid to read beyond the two Mitchell books (Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten) that I’ve read. (I still haven’t read Wolff’s This Boy’s Life.)