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the pathetic caverns - books by author - Russell H. Greenan

eclectic reviews and opinions

Russell H. Greenan

It Happened in Boston?

I'm delighted to have had a chance to read It Happened in Boston?, which made me chuckle and wince in almost equal measure. It features beautifully polished sentences -- Michael Chabon fans take note -- and one of the most deliciously unreliable narrators outside the Jim Thompson canon. To these virtues it adds a vivid and compelling portrait of the city of Boston and some sharp speculation about the nature of art and artist's roles in society.

Quibble: The fact that Jonathan Lethem's appreciation is described as a "forward" implies that it is appropriate to read before the book. I'd argue that it will both rob some of the novel's surprise and prejudice the reader toward a particular interpretation of the events (and their meaning) that might be open to question. Save it for afterwards.

Dept. of Tilting at Windmills:
Modern Libary deserves commendation for making the book available as part of it's "20th Century Rediscovery" series. However, it deserves excoriation for the cover design prominently featuring a female ankle and shoe. The "shoe book" trend shows an appalling paucity of imagination and I think it's a little tacky in general -- but in this case, it's utterly inappropriate to the contents of the book. Why, oh, why?

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