Friday, January 22, 2010

I am not this book

I just finished a novel that I found absurd, disturbing, and very sad. It's called The Bird Room and I picked it up because it has both a stylish cover and a one-sentence blurb from The Guardian of London that says it "x-rays the souls of young people."

It's a bizarre little book, and I disliked all of the people in it (all except for a minor character named Corinne, who works in a casino and leaves maternal notes for her roommate taped to the television screen). They were so empty. They had no passions, and the only things they thought about were their own inadequacies or sex. That's it. It depressed me. If that's an x-ray of the souls of people my age, I want to take my soul back in for a second opinion.

For a book that puts on the trappings of obsession, that wallows in voyeurism and the need for physical contact, it was weirdly, infuriatingly cold. Most of the book is taken up by characters sleeping with each other, or thinking about sleeping with each other, but they are so filled with worrying about themselves that it blots out all their senses and they might as well be alone. They do cruel things to themselves, cruel things to each other, and I don't care. They're just too flimsy and too hollow and too claustrophobic for me to feel anything except frustration that anyone would dare to say they're a suitable x-ray of a sheet of paper, let alone a soul.

No comments: