(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last 18 months to be considered. For the complete list of all books reviewed here, as well as the next books scheduled to be read, click here.)
Jottings from a Far Away Place
By Brendan Connell
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
I have to confess, I have a dangerously low tolerance for narrative stories that are weirdly nonsensical just for the sake of being weirdly nonsensical (as opposed to books that are nimbly experimental as a way of heightening the more traditional elements that usually come with three-act narrative stories, of which I'm a big fan); and so that makes Brendan Connell's new book of short stories, Jottings From a Far Away Place, kind of pointless for me to even try to review, because it's about the most weirdly nonsensical book I've read in the last year, and I find myself with not much more to say about it than, "Yep, those sure were some random sentences put together in a random order, all right. That was certainly 150 pages of random sentences I just read, that's for sure." Of course there's nothing wrong with either writing or publishing books like these, and more power to all of you out there who actually like this kind of writing; but I really wish that publishers would take better care to label these books what they are -- experimental prose-poetry, not narrative fiction -- so that critics of narrative fiction like me, who do our reviews based on analysis of such traditional elements as plot, character and dialogue, could be forewarned and simply recuse ourselves from accepting the book in the first place. It's unfair of me to give this a bad score just because I don't like this type of writing, yet I'm obliged to write something because of our open policy to review any book that gets sent to us, so today I will give it no score at all, essentially a wash that ended up being a waste of both my time and yours. That's always a disappointing experience, and I hope other publishers of experimental prose-poetry will please take note.
Out of 10: N/A