Hipsters of Larryville: what do you want to read with your PBRs in October? Here are three very pretentious, very postmodern books -- each by talented authoresses -- that have been on my to-read list for ages. I think I secretly know which one I want to read most... but leave me a comment with your top pick, and we'll get this party started.
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The NYT book review calls it an "unclassifiably elaborate novel." That sounds so pretentious and postmodern! Loosely, its about kleptomaniac former punk rockers, journalists & record execs. Let's see what else the review has to say: "The narrative feels as freely flung as a bag of trash down a country gully." "Egan's essential challenge to herself is to see how wide a circumference she can achieve while still maintaining any sort of coherence and momentum." Fun! This book won lots of prestigious awards that you're probably too hip to care about.
Real World by Natsuo Kirino
Real World is Heathers meets Natural Born Killers on 'roids. In a world peopled by teenagers, the kids are mad about the "total idiots" who force them to attend prestigious high schools, and they worship the rare iconoclast who takes a stand. At the center of Real World is Worm, a teen killer who talks his four female classmates into writing a manifesto for the crime he's committed. From the NYT book review: "He'd like it to be 'something creative' rather than 'introspective,' a 'cool' and 'incomprehensible' poem or story. Otherwise, his readers might conclude he isn't the disaffected nihilist he imagines himself to be." So postmodern! Natsuo Kirino has declared Flannery O'Connor her favorite American writer, and in this book's worldview there is no possibility of forgiveness or salvation.
Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
The reviewer from the NPR books blog seems pretty damn reluctant to have liked this book. "Bloated. Self-indulgent. Cliched." "And yet," she laments, "there is something so beguiling, so charming about the book." The teenage heroine, Eveline, is "equal parts pretentious and poetic, bratty and poignant" (perfect!), capturing exactly the thought processes of an introspective teenage girl as she goes through regular, teenage girl stuff: drama club, romance, outgrowing high school friends. The best part? Anthropology of an American Girl earns a comparison to Twilight for its totally implausable love story. Perfect for those of us who are (ironic) fans of sparkly vampires! This one's long, but apparently totally addictive -- and, of course, pretentious.