Another review that has been stewing in me for quite some time, whether I want it to or not, bah. This time, it’s overall Meh-ness that has been preventing me from putting this up. Oy, Dave Eggers, I’ve had my not-so-happy experiences with his stuff — basically, I don’t get him, [there’s an Eggers clique, a memo I didn’t get I’m sure]. This short story collection How We Are Hungry was the last chance between us. I’m predisposed to liking short fiction, and if he and I didn’t work with this book, we’d be over forever. No pressure, really.
And so here’s what happened when I finally did get to read him — half the time, still scowling, half the time collecting beautiful prose:
- From “Another” — I was alone and reckless and both passive and quick to fury. It was a beautiful time. Everything electric and hideous. I shall call upon these words at opportune times.
- From “The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water” — Was she in any way saddened by the predictability of the outcome? Was it unromantic? She decided that it was not. Sex and things like sex — things people pretend they regret — weren’t about a dcision made in a heated moment. The decision is made when you leave the house, when you get on a plane, when you dial a number.
- From “After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned,” which I suspect was told in the point of view of Doug from the Up movie — I see in the windows. I see what happens. I see the calm held-together moments and also the treachery and I run and run. You tell me it matters, what they all say. I have listened and long ago I stopped. Just tell me it matters and I will listen to you and I will want to be convinced. You tell me that what is said is making a difference, that those words are worthwhile words and mean something. I see what happens. I live with people who are German. They collect steins. They are good people. Their son is dead. I see what happens.
And I’m cutting to chase, let this not be a waste of time — because there are other books I want to talk about, good books, gasp in the middle of crowded room kind of good: The stories in these collection were not bad. I liked a lot of them, but a part of me won’t relent to loving them wildly. There were a lot I didn’t like, but I suppose that’s okay. You know? Really. The book? It’s not bad. It all didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. It’s okay, I guess.
I will try my best to never read Dave Eggers ever again, though.