Book 32: Golden Gate by Seth Vikram


032) Golden Gate by Seth Vikram, finished April 20
    nearly three years

When I first started reading this book nearly three years ago, I though I would discuss its scansion and other like litty thoughts, but just click on this and you can do all that yourself:

That's what the whole book looks like. Two to a page, all the way through. Also, the dedication and author bio and the table on contents are in the same form. (Note: i just opened the book randomly and scanned. I still haven't bothered to look and see which two pages I've just given you.)

So, first, the book is an experiment. Reading about how he decided to do it (blame Pushkin) makes me less judgmental, but really, as a whole, he pulled it off so why complain?

It's not, however, that good of a book. It has to wax meta at times as Seth apologizes for the absurdity of the book's form etc etc but as a whole, it's some okay interrelated stories stuck together in 1980s San Francisco (with all the youguessedits that entails). Without the format its simply a subpar novel. So when you pick this up, it has to be because you are inherently interested in the form for its own sake.

(Vikram is a bit gimmicky, of course. His second novel is, by some estimates, the longest book in the English language. Which isn't to say it's not good [it had better be] just that he likes his books to be capital-d Different.)

One thing about this book is that it is much shorter than it appears. With all that white space, you can tear through it pretty quickly (I did most of my reading in just a couple sittings). And the characters occasionally show glimmers of depth and it's not that bad, really, but claiming it's great is, I think, to make an error. I imagine the praise it received upon release was mostly wowery that such a book existed. I doubt many who loved it then would feel the same way now (though I'm ready to be proven wrong).

I would like to love a novel in verse, but it won't be this one. Besides the slightness of the story and the unevenness of the verse, it commits many New York Novel sins (although, of course, this time the City That Cool People Know is San Francisco), is moralistic and preachy, and, in the final analysis, just didn't do it for me. But you may like it. Who knows.


Previously in 2011 . . . . :

031) Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope, finished April 18
030) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby, finished April 9
029) iZombie: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, finished April 2
028) A Sense of Order and Other Stories by Jack Harrell, finished April 1
027) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, finished March 30

026) The Black Dogs by Ian McEwan, finished March 21

025) Stitches by David Small, finished March 20
024) Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth, finished January 19 or 20
023) Hamlet by William Shakespeare, finished March 18

022) Red Rocket 7 by Mike Allred, finished March 10
021) Missile Mouse: Rescue on Tankium3 by Jake Parker, finished March 10

020) The Hotel Cat by Esther Averill, finished February 28

019) Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew, finished February 21
018) Redcoat by Kohl Glass (MS POLICY), finished February 18

017) Best American Comics 2010 edited by Neil Gaiman, finished February 12
016) Little Bee by Chris Cleave, finished February 10
015) Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, finished February 2
014) Cursed Pirate Girl: The Collected Edition Vol. I by Jeremy Bastian, finished January 31

013) Sweet Tooth: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
012) Sweet Tooth: Out of the Woods by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
011) Essex County: The Country Nurse by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
010) Essex County: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire, finished January 29
009) Essex County: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire, finished January 29

008) Magdalene by Morah Jovan, finished January 27

007) Knightfall Part Two: Who Rules the Night by a slew of DC folk, finished January 23
006) Bayou by Jeremy Love, finished January 17

005) Mr. Monster by Dan Wells, finished January 10
004) The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, finished January 6
003) The Mystery of the Dinosaur Graveyard by Mary Adrian, finished January 5
002) Batman - Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham by John Wagner and Alan Grant and Simon Bisley, with lettering by the famous Todd Klein; finished January 4
001) Batman: Venom by Dennis O'Neil et al, finished January 2

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