Saturday, January 16, 2010

And then I read. . .

The trend of favorite authors letting me down continues with Richard Russo's "Bridge of Sighs." Russo usually writes about working-class people in decaying small towns of the Northeastern United States. Here his subject is Louis C. Lynch (AKA Lucy) and the problem with the book is that he's a perfectly nice, normal boring guy and the book is 600 pages long. That's a long time to spend in the company of a boring person. Especially since this is one of those sprawling multi-generational tomes and we also have to live with Lucy's equally boring father and eventually boring son. His childhood friend Bobby Marconi is not boring but he's not very likable either and he's not onstage all that much. I liked the book well enough to finish it, but I'd have liked it twice as much had it been half as long.

Poor Doug Tennapel, he catches hell no matter what he does. He's an outspoken Christian who writes graphic novels like "Black Cherry" about gangsters, murderers, strippers, drug addicts and demons. All of whom are pretty foul-mouthed. So the Christians give him hell about glamorizing sinful lifestyles (and for his potty mouth) and the heathens resent the religious symbolism that's never far below the surface in his work. I liked the book; I have no problem with pious characters or demonic ones, for that matter. My only complaint was that to me this book at heart was a love story, as gangster Eddie Paretti -- when not fighting demons or resisting two rival mob chapters after his head -- searches for his lost love, the titular Blackl Cherry. He finds her but in the end he leaves her and I personally did not buy his line of reasoning for doing so.
Well, now that I think about about it I have one other minor complaint -- for such a book of almost nonstop action, the cover of Eddie just standing there is pretty boring.

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