i have a substack! part blog, part newsletter, this is the place where i document living the Writer's Life.
come find me on goodreads! i am in the habit of reviewing all the long-form literature i read, and i'm enjoying  exploring different styles of book reviews. i'm not always eloquent, but i'm always authentic.
recent reviews:
McGlue, Ottessa Moshfegh
Ottessa Moshfegh's McGlue is a satisfying read on every level, from plot to prose to each individual sentence. The novella is as brash and bold as its eponymous protagonist, and damn-near perfect from start to finish.

McGlue wakes up in the brig of his crew's ship, drunk and hungover all at once. He recounts his hazy memories and nihilistic (yet optimistic?) views of the world in a first-person narration that conveys his delicious character. An alcoholic with brutish ways and a general lack of concern in his well-being, he's nonetheless upbeat in his belief that his imprisonment is all just a game. After all, he is fully convinced that the man he killed—his best (and only) friend Johnson—is still alive. Moshfegh expertly winds his alcoholism around his denial, throwing in a literal hole in his head that leaves McGlue often delirious. We're caught in the odyssey of his delusions and his reckonings, taken on a journey through the tides of his memories.

The present-day plot is sparse and sparsely populated, merely the action of McGlue traveling from brig to jail, and so the heartstring of the novella is McGlue's relationship with the dead Johnson. Achronologically we are given glimpses of their past, see the way their lives give the other's a purpose, see them put up with each other across the globe and only grow more loyal for it. Johnson appears in visions in the present plot, too, and so the entire action of the story amounts to a construction of character more than anything. The plot is our own experience of understanding McGlue.

A fun and bawdy read, heartbreaking with a killer ending, this one is heading straight to the "Favorites" shelf.
Memorial, Bryan Washington
So here's the thing. Bryan Washington's Memorial, a slice of life, character-study story, has Choices. It has the present-tense Benson, the past-tense Mike, the careful consideration of POV. Memory blurs present blurs fact, and phrases (like "I didn't say shit") are used between characters in the way of two lives shared, voices shared. It has rough fathers and forgiving sons, suspicion and false suspicion and accusation and understanding. Theme, structure, catharsis—it has all the Choices of a novel that makes novels so delicious to eat.

But here's the other thing: I read this book faster than I have any other in a very long time. So—I don't even want to review these Choices. I don't want to review Washington's skill or Memorial's effect. I just read this story as seamlessly as living it. And I want to keep that experience pure, no over-analysis necessary.

For fans of The Vanishing Half, perhaps? But beware: it made me cry buckets. 
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