Stealing: A Novel in Dreams
What would James Joyce (circa 1920, during the composition of his experimental novel Ulysses) have made of a close-knit, talkative, conflict-ridden Jewish American family living through the decades after World War II? Shelly Brivic’s novel offers a compelling and entertaining (if sometimes bewildering) answer to this question. Brivic, himself a distinguished Joyce scholar and literary critic, has set his first novel in the kind of family mythologized by Philip Roth and Woody Allen, among others, but with defamiliarizing storytelling techniques that occasionally risk alienating readers. Using the book’s subtitle, A Novel in Dreams, as a cover for these moves (shifts from third-person narrative to first-person, parallel columns of text, and odd formatting decisions), Brivic tries valiantly to achieve a certain distance from his gritty, all-too-human subject matter, which (true to Joycean instincts), is often grounded in uncomfortable sexual feelings. Brivic’s effort to shed the mantle of analytical prose in favor of in-your-face realism (sometimes surrealism) in this bumpy, knotty family narrative is heroic, in many ways, but it will hardly be popular. Readers sympathetic to his aims will find much to enjoy, but by the end may want a breather from this disjointed and emotionally supercharged world.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||263 pages|
|Publisher||Frayed Edge Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|