I hide my eyes from all reviews about a book until I've read it. Then, particularly if I had a strong reaction to a book, I'll take my time thinking about it for a week or two and then curiosity gets the best of me. What did others think? Am I the only one who liked it/hated it? If we agree, did we agree on the same things? If we disagreed, do I agree with the ways in which we disagree? I have to know.
And so, almost a week to the day that I finished The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits (a book I really dug and thought was a lot of fun and didn't take itself too seriously), I'm peeking around to see what others thought.
- The Rumpus found the novel "provocative and full of hefty, even academic ideas--at its best, a nouveau feminist manifesto."
- Salon/The Barnes & Noble Review finds that "Julavits avoids the form’s faux flavor by hewing carefully to emotional truth."
- SF Weekly thinks "Like everything in Julavits' fiction, this grows more fascinating — and mysterious — the more you read. That's also true for the fiction itself — here is a novelist whose audacity is matched only by her inventiveness and power. And, shit, she's funny, too."
- The Globe and Mail liked it, but of course had to mention that goddamn Believer manifesto from eons ago and then swirl it into a smarmy closing point that was nothing if not forced. Julavits must be equally tired of that same song being played every time she does press. So she wrote a manifesto. Years ago. Let it go.
- NYT is less impressed and I agree with their plot critique and where it gets too mired in detail for its own good. To wit: "While the language remains vivid, its satisfactions are overwhelmed by the confusion of the overdetermined plot."
So, there you have it. Seems I'm not entirely crazy for digging this book as much as I do. Always nice to know. I'm often way out there on my own, loving something that everyone thinks is rubbish. Or, most often, really not liking the novel everyone is swooning about. Ah, well. The fun games we play post-read.