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This is my first book by Paul Beatty; he really writes extremely well, but the story is more like a collection of one-act plays than a coherent whole. While I enjoyed each act, the story itself progressed little. The protagonist, Gunnar Kaufman, is apparently a genius at whatever he attempts; he is a published poet, a basketball star, a well-read philosopher. So handsome as to attract women yet remaining chaste. He is a wellspring of contradictions, with a philosophy that, in the end, is depraved. I realize that this is satire, but it is often over the top. This sort of humor works better if it is more subtle. This was more like slapstick. Yet the prose is unique and at time marvelous.
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Hardship after Hardship gets very old without any grounded base for the main character. A book full of one-upsmanship loses direction and leaves the listener just wanting to get the book over with.