Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reading Journal: Parasites Like Us, by Adam Johnson (2003)

A wacky picaresque with poor jacket copy: "After trashing his '72 Corvette [which doesn't happen until Page 136], illegally breaking into an ancient burial site [page 120] and snacking on 12,000-year-old popcorn [page 232], Hank Hannah finds he's inadvertently unleashed the apocalypse." I expected these big events to be the book's best three - and for what it's worth, they are - but in a book that's almost 340 pages, to me, the apocalypse comes way too late, leaving only about 100 pages for us to see What Happens Next... and before them, we take an indifferent slog through 100-plus pages of not much happening at all: we learn about Hank, and his family, and his position as an anthropologist at the University of Southern South Dakota, but none of these details are particularly interesting. To the novel's credit, the narrator occasionally addresses the anthropologist of tomorrow, who will come across this and ask what it all meant, and there is some seriously funny writing, but the marketing department had to go and get my hopes up for a Misery-like opening car crash. It's not an awful book, but "exciting" isn't a word I'd use to describe it.

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