Monday, April 22, 2013

7/50: Nobody Move

Nobody Move, by Denis Johnson
3/5 stars
This is my 7th book in Rex & Jake's 50-Book Reading Challenge,
which Rex leads 10-7. Full list can be found here.

I think I was just hoping for a Coen Brothers movie. I mean, I was expecting to laugh out loud one moment and then squirm the next. I was looking for noir at its zaniest, with accidental gunshots and confused anti-hreoes who aren't totally sure why they're doing what they're doing or who they're doing it for. I didn't necessarily get that here. Instead, I got a partially noir story that jived and joked, sure, but never really lit up or glowed. But it also didn't waste my time. It got right into the wild (a bit without the wit though).

Don't get me wrong. It was fun. It just wasn't enough.

I like my noir one of two ways, either dedicated old school or whole-heartedly new wave. One has less humor, but it's got the dedication, as it's playing by the rules. The other is strictly meta, observing the genre while moving its characters along, as it's playing with the rules. This was somewhere between, and I don't think that really works as a formula, if it's going to sneak up my alley. I want Touch Of Evil or Fargo, really. Otherwise, it never reads true, because it's existing as two different things. And that's not genre-bending. That's just blurry, which makes the narrative slightly wonky. Also, I understand that it was going for anarchy and action, but with so few characters, so little direction, and so small of a drive to the plot, there needs to be history (or at least an ending of any kind). Why is anyone doing anything? Who knows? Everybody's just floatin' or jivin' or who-the-fuck-knows-whatin'.

Ah well. I bought the book solely because the cover was a hot pop-art girl in her underwear holding a smoking gun. What'd I expect?

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