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Teiresias1960

Teiresias1960

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girls

girls - Nic Kelman, Iris Weinstein I came to this book as a result of a review I read that described it as a modern day "Lolita." It's not that. I'm not even sure I'd call it a novel. If it is a novel, it's emplotment is very complex. It is built around several longish vignettes-all between 5 and 16 pages-that are related by theme, if nothing else. The use of a second person narrator throughout often makes it difficult to determine whether he's talking about the same character. Most of the characters are very rich, and think themselves very powerful. It's only when he describes one of his contra characters, a photographer, for example, that you "know" he's describing the experiences of a different character. His preoccupation with using "maybe" and "perhaps," as if to avoid admitting any of his characters' crimes-- which is what sex with a sixteen year old is in most places-leads the reader to doubt whether he's faithfully describing events that actually occurred. In like manner, he often shifts, within the vignettes, from the second person narrator to the third. Between the vignettes, he uses a cornucopia of aphorisms and quotes from the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid to illustrate the timelessness of his themes-I guess, as sometimes the quotes don't fit with the events described. He also likes to describe the evolution of words like "love" and "cock," for example. It's during these often interesting interludes that one doubts that Kelman has written a novel, and not a Pillow Book a la Sei Shonagon. Several times I found myself chuckling at the pretentiousness of his "rich men," as I thought "all that money, and this is what they do with it? How pathetic!" It's clear Kelman is a talented writer, willing to experiment. I look forward to the time when he uses his talent on a subject with more depth, and less bodily fluids.