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August 17, 2006


I've just finished the book so I came back to read what you thought of it -- I was worried you loved it and I'd have to justify my disappointment! I agree about the thinness of the characters -- I didn't care about any of them.

It felt like someone writing a Dougland-Coupland-style book. In previous novels the characters often said things that made me think "wow, I didn't realise anyone else thought that," somehow picking up on ideas I thought were personal but were actually part of the larger world.

This time the characters say things that are annoying and unbelievable, or that sound like they're supposed to be clever and original but are nothing new, or that sound like someone desperately wanting to talk like a Douglas Coupland character. (The bit where they decide phrases look thirty four per cent more evil when set in Courier jumped out at me as a trying-too-hard example of the latter.)

It's not that I hated it -- it was a nice enough read -- but I was just disappointed. Unlike his other books it doesn't mean anything to me.

Yes, Microserfs was better on behaviour, observation and character (though I think the characterisation was poor there too).

I think Dennis Lim's review gets it: he has internalised every criticism of his writing, and exemplified it, writ even larger. Perhaps as a way of anticipating and dealing with that criticism? (In which case, Eggers' similar tactic in AHWOSG seemed to work rather better).

I have moved on to Will Self's Book of Dave, which is great so far.

How has acting changed your expectation - what you "need" - from literature?

I can't think of any way my acting has affected how I read to be honest. I haven't been reading a whole lot of novels over the past year or so, which probably doesn't help. I'lll let you know if/when something occurs to me!

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