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Dan Chaon emulates the off-center situations and attitudes that make T.C. Boyle's writing so compelling. On this front, he succeeds. But he fails to turn those situations into anything approaching drama, and that's a shame because even Chaon's frequent contributor to the N.Y. Times have more life than his short stories.
That being said, I was most disappointed that while living and working in Cleveland, Chaon didn't see fit to include more of the flavor of the area in his writing as he does when writing for the Times.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
These stories are about characters who are, in one way or another, dealing with the absence of someone who used to be in their lives. In some cases the absence is welcome, in others not, and in still others, the loss is ambiguous. What is pretty consistent is the dreariness of the characters at the center of each story, the negative and pessimistic world-view that is described by the author, and the droning, monotone narration by both of the readers. A significant number of the stories just stop, making me re-wind the audio to see if I had skipped something. If I were reading a real book, I would have counted the pages to see if some had been torn out. No such luck - the stories are just essentially pointless narrations of someone's wandering thoughts about people that we are given no good reason to care about, or even be intrigued with. Did not hold my interest.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful