Wednesday, December 28, 2016

More: a Novel / Hakan Gunday, 398 pp.

Gaza is in the family business.  In his case, that would be smuggling desperate humans, mostly from Afghanistan, through Turkey and onto to boats in the Aegean, destination Greece.  The novel begins in his young adolescence.  In an almost Holden Caulfield-like voice, he describes his abusive father and the pain of being a child forced to shackle, manipulate and control people in the direst of circumstances.  Initially I found the writing tremendously powerful.  And Gaza's odyssey, which involves being buried in a pile of corpses, commitment to a mental institution, and participating in lynch mobs, is certainly imaginative and strange.  But, as I have complained in the past, piling atrocity upon mayhem upon sadism seems to me a kind of writerly failure, like interspersing your writing with f-bombs.  After awhile it isn't shocking or moving; it's only dull.

Terrific, then disappointing.

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