Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Watch Your Mouth

Watch Your Mouth is a 2002 novel by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. The Guy Who Wrote the Lemony Snicket books). It's quite a remarkable book and I really enjoyed reading it. Handler writes with an exhilarating tempo - he reminded me, at his best, of JD Salinger, but more generally of Philip Roth or Michael Chabon. Watch Your Mouth has a fascinating story, is crazy sexual, but best of all, is the way he structures the story. The first half is told like an opera (I'll leave the second half for you to discover). Even as he tells the story, he'll indicate this character should be a tenor, that a soprano and so on. He writes:
Because this is, you know, an opera. Fiction, like all operas: a lie, but a lie is sort of a myth, and a myth is sort of a truth. All summer long I was watching things happen with Cynthia Glass and her family that were melodramatic, heart-wrenching, and absurdly—truly—tragic.

The story is that of a young Jewish teenager who lives with his girlfriend, Cyn (read: Sin) and her family for a summer. The horny teenagers try to squeeze in as much sweaty sex as they can while ostensibly working summer jobs and writing papers. The parents and a brother are going through their own melodramas - and - there's a Golom. I love stories with Goloms in them. I'm reticent to say too much - I hope you'll read it yourself...

First chapter is here - let me know if you read/have read it, I'd love to hear your opinion! I'm definitely going to check out his other novels.

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