This was supposed to be one of the best audiobooks of 2016, and it was a victim of high expectations. It was fine, I guess, but not “best” of anything. Not even close. The book rambles and has little to no point. At the beginning, it seemed to wander in order to setup different characters. Fine. But then plot didn’t really kick in. It kept wandering. It felt super indulgent.
The gist of the multi-character wanderings is summed up with the statement that sometimes, "You're so wrapped up in your own story that you don't realize you're a bit part in someone else’s.” Yes, interesting point. But a point doesn’t make a novel, and this one feels more like the thought experiments of a teenager discovering postmodernism than something born of real craft.
E.g., "I'll change your name to something silly, he tells ‘Periwinkle’.” Yes, I see what you did there. I see your self-reflexiveness. Clever. But not a book. These ideas are decades old, so I’m left with the impression that the author didn’t bother to read any of the postmodern writers who came before him.
Characters come out of nowhere, named after and based on people from real life - Allen Ginsberg, a random comic foil, and Hubert Humphrey. (What was with the internal monologues of Humphrey, by the way?)
Also, the ending was a let-down, not just the plot but the writing itself. It was like even the author got bored and phoned it in.
(And what was with the line line at the end about how pain just means it’s a new beginning, thus the looming economic crisis is a “good thing” because we can all start afresh? It was is just tossed in, out of nowhere.)