Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 book 230

John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van
Full disclosure: John Darnielle is a friend of a good friend of mine, and I have chatted with him at parties; also, I am friends with many people who work at his record label, though I am not particularly a fan of his band (I recognize that this is a personal failing).

So, based on the above, I was a little leery of reading his book--and honestly, I read the first few pages at least five times and kept putting it down. But all the music dudes I know were SO enthusiastic about this, and it was nominated for an NBA and on the NYT bestseller list, so I figured I'd really make an effort to plow through and be part of the zeitgeist. Plus, I mean, John Darnielle is really nice! He once kindly participated in a conversation with me about sweet tea vodka when I was (very) drunk on said beverage. (That was a long time ago, please don't judge me.)

OK, so, the book. As noted above, the early pages made my eyes glaze over (they are very LITERARY), but the writing style quickly settles down to tell the story of a disfigured guy (basically he's Arse-Face from Preacher, but more intellectual) who runs a mail-order game out of his home, and then two of his players experience a tragedy. I guess it's useless to complain about the scarcity/flimsiness of women characters, since this is basically a book about a mostly-reclusive guy--though the male secondary characters feel much more fleshed out/thoughtful. But look, in general, this is a dude book. This is particularly a book for nerdy dudes who like metal and role-playing games. It's very well written, and I did enjoy it, but I didn't feel connected to it. B/B+.

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