Someone Woke Up on the Wrong Side of Crazy Today

Seriously, what’s going on with Michiko? First AM Homes:

A. M. Homes’s dreadful new novel, “This Book Will Save Your Life,” reads like a cartoon illustration for a seminar on men and middle age — a pastiche of all that is hokey, hackneyed and New Agey in Robert Bly’s “Iron John” and Gail Sheehy’s “Understanding Men’s Passages.”

and now Philip Roth:

“Everyman,” the title of Philip Roth’s flimsy new novel, announces that the book’s hero is meant to be a sort of representational figure: an average Joe, an ordinary guy, an homme moyen sensuel…The problem is, this nameless fellow turns out to be generic, rather than universal: a faceless cutout of a figure who feels like a composite assembled from bits and pieces of earlier Roth characters. Spending time with this guy is like being buttonholed at a party by a remote acquaintance who responds to a casual “Hi, how are you?” with a half-hour whinge-fest about his physical ailments, medical treatments and spiritual complaints.

5 thoughts on “Someone Woke Up on the Wrong Side of Crazy Today

  1. Pete

    Considering that pretty much every “everyman” I’ve ever met has been prone to complaining about “physical ailments, medical treatments and spiritual complaints”, I’d say Roth’s characterization is quite accurate. Has Michiko ever actually met an everyman? Or does she move exclusively in rarified literary circles?


  2. ed

    Yeah, what is going on with Michiko? I’m reading the new Homes right now and, so far, I’m liking it. Even if you endorse the idea that it’s a cartoonish book (which I can certainly see some people doing), there is still Homes’ use of language and metaphors demonstrating the human trappings with contemporary society. (The whole idea of paramedics telling the protagonist that he’s “in good hands,” like Allstate. Or the very funny donuts episode with the cabbie.)


  3. Aaron Weber

    What got me was that both of them begin with the same formula: “[Author’s] [insulting adjective] new novel.” It’s as though her reviews are done with a Mad Libs template.


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