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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Falconer by John Cheever 
22nd-Jun-2006 09:24 pm
*groans* Consider this novel my big mistake of the year. Problem is that, even when everyone "in the know" tells you that it's good...sometimes it's so NOT. >_<

Cheever, John. Falconer. 1977. New York: Vintage, 1998.
Summary: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Ezekiel Farrigut's got life in prison at Falconer for fratricide. While there, he kicks his heroin habit, falls in love and watches that lover make his escape, witnesses a riot, and uses the death of a fellow inmate to escape himself.
Comments: *blargh* This has got to be the most difficult novel to finish that I've read this year--and it wasn't because it was a particularly challenging read. Unless you consider sheer boredom and paragraph-long, meandering sentences challenging, that is. Sure, sure, it was literary enough, but I think the problem was that, to me, Farrigut was about as interesting as an old lint ball. His standard white male dissaffection and angst meant nothing whatsoever to me, and his sexual and familial alienation seemed whiny and self-indulgent. Not to mention that the guy totally lacks authenticity, at least in the beginning. I'm so glad that Farrigut finds a measure of meaning in jail, but pardon me while I yawn. In any case, if you're looking for a great prison story, Ted Conover's impressive journalistic endeavor Newjack is WAAAAAY more interesting and enlightening. Cheever was a CO at Sing-Sing, too, so he should've written from that perspective--instead, I might as well have been watching Farrigut through iron bars like a CO myself. I never felt like I really got into Farrigut's head (not that I wanted to, anyway).
Notes: trade paperback, 11th printing
Rating: 1.5/10 - For the masochistic only. I don't know anyone offhand who I think would actually enjoy this.
23rd-Jun-2006 05:49 am (UTC)

I loved that book.

Apparently literary tastes are remarkably unpredictable.
23rd-Jun-2006 11:11 am (UTC)
It's that white male angst thing, I think. I tend not to be sympathetic when that's the point of a novel. As was even pointed out, Farrigut had every advantage yet couldn't make it work due to a kind of self-inflicted alienation. Puh-leeze. I'd rather read about people who have more problems than just their own unscrewed heads.
23rd-Jun-2006 07:04 am (UTC)
1.5/10. Is that your lowest score ever?
23rd-Jun-2006 11:06 am (UTC)
Nope. I've given straight 1's before. :P
1st-Jul-2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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