December 21, 2012

30 Books in 30 Days: "A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots," by Kent Evans

(CCLaP publishes mini-reviews of both books and movies on a regular basis, none lasting more than a few hundred words. A full list of CCLaP's book-based mini-reviews can be found on its main book page, and movies on the main movie page.)

A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots, by Kent Evans

A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots
By Kent Evans
Pangea Books

As regular readers know, I've been tearing through a book a day this December, in an attempt to whittle down my now gigantic to-read list before the holidays are over and I have to get back to regular CCLaP work; and regulars also know that I've been saving up all my "bleh" reviews and running them right before Christmas, in the hopes that the smaller audience at the blog during the holidays will lessen the impact of these so-so to terrible write-ups. And that's because in many of these cases, the books being criticized are not necessarily that bad from an objective standpoint, but just hit a bad nerve when it comes to me in particular; and perhaps there's no greater example of this than Kent Evans' A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots, which even the author admits a few pages in is not much more than a blatant ripoff of McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers, one of the dozens of twee metafictional Postmodernist moments that I know other people love, but to me is like fingernails down a f-cking chalkboard. Essentially the rambling story of a hipster douchebag, and all the hipster-douchebag things he does -- backpacking trips through southeast Asia, falling ass-backwards into easy sex with models, complaining about the "artist's life" while working a series of high-paying corporate gigs, a complete inability to see even the slightest amount of hypocrisy in that -- which of course is written in second person, and of course contains byzantine chapter titles for extra-annoying effect, there is so much navel-gazing going on here that even orange groves in Florida are starting to get nervous; and by the time I got to the part where Damien and his friends claim that a human-rights violation has taken place against their buddy, because the police dared to arrest him simply because he was breaking the law, I decided that I had had enough with these Brooklyn poseurs and their unacknowledged-entitlement misadventures. Like I said, this book has received a lot of praise, so obviously there's a legitimate audience out there for it, and I don't mean to imply that it's badly written because it's not; it just concerns one of those subjects that I not only dislike but that literally sets my nerves on edge, and I think it no coincidence that the author proudly mentions in his bio his past involvement with the 1990s performance-poetry community, because so many of the writers who set my nerves on edge seem to come from this background. Consider yourself warned.

Out of 10: 4.4

Filed by Jason Pettus at 12:01 PM, December 21, 2012. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |