did not finish: Upgunned by David J. Schow and Cosmopolis by Don Delillo (audio)

Just very briefly here, because I didn’t get very far into either…

David J. Schow was the screenwriter of The Crow and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. These credentials are not terribly meaningful to me, not being a fan of horror movies, but they did give me some hope. Upgunned begins with the perspective of a semi-celebrity photographer of the scuzzy, scummy upper crust – drug-addled anorexics and the like. He is kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to take blackmail photos of a local politician. And then the perspective shifts to the man behind the gun.

The plot premise was mildly interesting to me – I can get into a good thriller regardless of framing elements if it’s done right – but the writing and characters didn’t hold up. I found both early characters a little bit cartoonish and overdone, the society in question was just a little too sickening for my taste, and the writing did nothing to redeem it. Nancy Pearl would be disappointed as I quit just 48 pages in, but I couldn’t motivate any further than that.

This DNF review is based on a galley sent to me by the publisher. Many thanks!

I have fond memories of Don Delillo from his amazing White Noise (and also my buddy Jerko is a big fan and I value his opinions). But Cosmopolis didn’t hold up. (And to be fair, Jerko specifically did not recommend it.) I made it maybe an hour in, which I think should count as 50 pages, if only just. :) The story of Eric Packer’s billionaire troubles while wending his way through the city in his limousine (as pictured on the cover) failed to make me feel anything deep. Delillo’s trademark tone of detached despair is there, but the writing feels a little stilted, a little overdeveloped. Mostly though, I just couldn’t get interested in Packer’s fate.

Am I a little disenchanted and difficult-to-please these days? Hey, it’s possible. We all go through those phases. I will point out, though, that I attempted these two DNFs within a week of reading my two most recent additions to the Best of 2011 list: 11/22/63 and The Home-Maker. So maybe everything else pales in comparison. :) At any rate, I’m sure there’s more outstanding reading right around the corner, and I hope the same for you as well!

2 Responses

  1. I had a tough time finding something that would fit right after reading 11/22/63 also. Everything really did pale in comparison to it! There are plenty of other good books out there, so it’s off to the next one now! Which sometimes can be so difficult, that indecision on which book to pick up next! I settled on The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly and the first few chapters are thoroughly engaging!

    • I’ve been really enjoying Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected on audio. But audio feels like a different genre to me; it’s a little bit apples and oranges (or lemons and lemurs).

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