Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Look at MeLook at Me by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A timely book, though it is now ten years older.  I am catching up with Egan, having read A Visit From the Goon Squad.  The same talents there are on display here: a marveling lyric sensibility which alights on objects and people like with interest; a narrative focus on misfits and outsiders, some of whom find themselves inside; a sneakily postmodern meta approach to form; all anchored by a drive to tell story.  To reveal the contents or plot too much would be spoilery, and it is better that you apprehend it as you go, and easy to find out if you don't like surprises.  The bulk of the narrative is the story of a model, who suffered a car accident, and has had her face rebuilt ("80 Titanium screws") such that no one knows her, and the daughter of a friend from high school who stayed back in Rockford, and that daughter's cultivation of friendship and more with an uncle and a former teacher.  Woven through it are materials on industrialism and the Midwest, the sources of modern terror, and the effect of the internet upon identity.  There is a lot going on, but it is well handled, and the frenzy that starts to beset the novel mirrors the car crash that sets the entire chain of events in motion.  And lest it be thought this is informed by that day of September, the book was begun around 1995. Nothing if not ambitious, and virtually fully realized, Look at Me is novel that you can't put down, and then stays with you.

View all my reviews

No comments: