Vedran Hrustanovic Hrustanovic itibaren 2, St. Peters, MD, Birleşik Devletler
The Short of It: At first glance, Case Histories appears to be a collection of stand-alone stories but as the novel unfolds, they come together to form a very different kind of mystery. The Rest of It: Often, I find mysteries to be a bit predictable in nature. For this reason, I typically steer clear of them. However, my book club picked Case Histories for this month and although it’s definitely a mystery, it’s sort of veiled in its delivery. Meaning, it doesn’t hit you over the head with its mysterious-ness. Each case is, well…a tad shocking. Shocking in that these characters tend to think out loud and their observations and feelings over a particular person, place or thing are so honest that at times, you suck in a breath and say, “Wow.” I believe the idea was to have the stories alternate, and then eventually mesh into one. This happens, but rather loosely. You aren’t given all the details, but given enough to know what happens by the end of the novel. Although the result was a tad predictable, what happens within each case, is not. In the end, I’m not sure I liked how the cases came together. I almost like them better as stand-alone stories. As I read each case, I was left wondering about the people within them. As horrible as some of these characters are, I could easily relate to them. But given the entire situation, I lost the ability to relate to them. Well, some of them. As you can see, this review is a collection of my rambling thoughts because this reading experience left me rather antsy. It wasn’t a short story collection but in my opinion it didn’t really read like a novel either.
I shall start off my review by stating this one fact: I love Chuck Klosterman. I really do. I recommend him to anyone that will lend an ear. Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs is one my absolute favorite books EVAR. So forgive me if my review of Chuck Klosterman IV (who's title is a reference to the classic, untitled fourth Zeppelin album) seems a tad less than impartial. You now know why. IV is a collection of stories, essays, and a single piece of short fiction that Chuck has done for various publications, including Spin and Esquire. The first portion of the book is a collection of profiles on artists and other people of note. In this section, we discover that Chuck was once told by several psychics that he was supposed to be a professional bowler, that he once lost a pound on the Chicken McNugget Diet (it ties in to an interview he later did with Supersize Me documentarian Morgan Spurlock), and what he considers the worst conversation of his professional career (hint: the interviewee has been known to seek and destroy). While this section is by no means bad, it is certainly the weakest part of the book. I occasionally found myself struggling to get through this portion of the book, although I concede that this may have to do with the fact that I can only take so many artist profiles at once (it's why a single issue of Decibel magazine can last me until the next one comes out). Next is the essay portion of the book. It consists of stories on things such as VH1 Classic, the difference between nemeses and archenemies, and why Johnny Carson was the last ubiquitous figure of popular culture. This is, far and away, my favorite part of the book. The stories here are examples of why I hold Klosterman up as the greatest pop culture writer of all time. The story on the time he watched VH1 Classic for 24 hours straight is a classic, as is his story on the modern day Pirate renaissance. The 3rd and final section of the book is a short piece of fiction he wrote about an amoral (okay, maybe not amoral, but damn close), PCP addled newspaper movie critic who, while driving to pick a friend's sister, has a woman land on his car. Like, she just falls out of the sky. This is somewhere between the profiles and the articles. I mean, it's really good, but not as earth-shatteringly great as the articles. What I really love about this piece is how Klosterman pulls a Tarantino and makes a PCP-addicted, rather narcissistic dude completely relatable, at least to me (but then again, I related to Michael Keaton's character in Pacific Heights more than I related to the "good guys" of the film). Also, the major event of the story is regarded with what's almost a sense of normalcy. Like, it doesn't really happen until later in the story, and it's done with such realism, one begins to suspect that Klosterman has actually had this happen to him once, which an angle I really appreciate. Most authors would take this from the angle of "OMG A WOMAN FELL FROM THE SKY OMGOMG!!1!11", but Klosterman realizes that the reader already realizes that what transpires in the story is rather extraordinary, so he doesn't really need to push it. Overall, this book deserves about a 4.5, but friggin' Goodreads won't allow half points. Argghh. Score normalcy irritates me. So, the final score is Chuck Klosterman IV: 4.5, Goodreads: 2. Take THAT, you lousy website.