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I almost gave up on Maupin after the bitterness of "Sure of You," but I decided to give the book a try. I'm so very happy that I did! This is classic Maupin in some ways: the bawdy humor, the soft irony, the sharply-drawn characters, some of whom will wring your heart.
The plot device of a story about telling a story, or of a storyteller explaining why he can't tell a story, may seem hackneyed, but in Maupin's hands, it becomes so much more than a cliche.
Maupin is a perfect narrator for this story ... something that you can't say for all authors who record their own audiobooks. DO NOT MISS THIS.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
This is a brilliant, complex, touching, entertaining, inspiring and unfinished book. Interestingly, it is also not clear whether it is fact or fiction. I suspect that it is fact, which would also explain why it is so inconclusive: It peters out because the author himself simply doesn't know how it ends.
Of course, that is also the main theme of the book itself: Is what is happening fact or fiction? Is it really happening, or is it just an imagining? Are our lives really happening as we believe them to be happening, or are they something else altogether?
Even so, there is still something unsatisfying about the final product. The characters waver between the two- and three-dimensional and then plump down firmly on the side of the former. This is annoying, because it is amply clear that Maupin has it in him to make them not three- but multi-dimensional.
Somehow I just don't buy the literary artifice of the open ending. I have nothing against open endings, but this one doesn't wash. My suspicion is that Maupin got stuck or bored or bogged down and simply stopped being really committed to the project when he was around two thirds of the way through. This is where the book starts to dissolve and lose its initial promise, and the prose starts to read more like a chore than a pleasure.
I still wanted to give it five stars because of the magnificent way it started, but I finally decided on three for the book we actually have. The five-star book is there, and it is truly stunning, Maupin just needs to sit down and write it. If he wants to, of course...
4 of 4 people found this review helpful