Audie Award Finalist, Biography/Memoir, 2014
Joshua Cody, a brilliant young composer, was about to receive his PhD when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Facing a bone marrow transplant and full radiation, he charts his struggle: the fury, the tendency to self-destruction, and the ruthless grasping for life and sensation; the encounter with beautiful Ariel, who gives him cocaine and a blow job in a Manhattan restaurant following his first treatment; the detailed morphine fantasy complete with a bride called Valentina while, in reality, hospital staff are pinning him to his bed. Moving effortlessly between references to Don Giovanni and the Rolling Stones, Ezra Pound and Buffalo Bill, and studded with pages from his own diaries and hospital notebooks, [sic] is a mesmerizing, hallucinatory glimpse into a young man’s battle against disease and a celebration of art, language, music, and life.
“The memoir of the year . . . a book in which the sentences swing into you like small, gleaming axes.” (New York Times)
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I have no idea. I don't think I know enough "intellectuals," to use an outdated word. I usually enjoy Mr. Ballerini's work, but he is beginning to pile up a small group of turkeys here. Oddly, or maybe not, a number of them seem to be about the history of Italy, a language that he speaks perfectly. His name is Italian. I can make no other sense of this.
I really don't understand what in hell Mr. Cody is talking about. It seems to be a jumble of ramblings that are disjointed, and if there is a plot, I couldn't find it. So, let's see: characters, plot, drama. No, no and no.
The book is just not for me. I don't understand it, after several hours of trying to figure it out, I gave up. Why bother?
It's a waste of a credit, which is about $12, I think, and it was a waste of my time. I also feel that it is a waste of Mr. Ballerini's extraordinary talent, but I guess he didn't think so.
- Richard Delman
- Victoria Wright