Monday, August 27, 2012

Hmm …

… Inside’ and ‘Signs and Wonders,’ by Alix Ohlin -

I finally got around to reading this and I have to say I found the truculence both off-putting and distracting. I also found this somewhat peculiar: "Ohlin’s second story collection arrives with the title “Signs and Wonders” — a shopworn phrase whose popular origins can be found in Pentecostalism …" It may well be that the phrase is a favorite among Pentecostals, but when I hear it, I immediately think of its Biblical origin: "Unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." And of course the follow-through, which is that no sign shall be given except the sign of Jonah.
Giraldi may also well be right about Ohlin's novel  —  I haven't read it and his review provides enough evidence to make me think I wouldn't enjoy it anymore than he did — but I think a cooler review would have been a better review.
An afterthought: One of the problems with all of the snark in this review is that one never really gets a sense of what Ohlin's novel is about — the story, that is — and that's the least an author can expect from a reviewer.
Another afterthought: The first sentence — "There are two species of novelist: one writes as if the world is a known locale that requires dutiful reporting, the other as if the world has yet to be made." — reminded me of Robert Benchley's observation that "there are two kinds of people: Those who think there are two kinds of people and those who don't."


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