Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: "Indecision" by Benjamin Kunkel

I guess I have calmed down in recent years, since my reaction to a book as self-indulgent and shallow as Indecision, Benjamin Kunkel’s only novel, is less volatile and more apathetic. It is the kind of book written by someone with too much of an education and hasn’t really read anything that doesn’t validate their false sense of intelligence. But for some reason, reading it, I didn’t feel anger but instead, felt a kind of glee knowing I was in the hands of someone who totally did not know what they were doing. Kunkel was not remotely interested in engaging the reader, making them feel any kind of welcome or sense of balance. He is more interested in pontificating on how smart he is, and doesn’t care if he leaves you in the dust. I am surprised that it doesn’t bother me more, but I wasn’t angry through this book, just bored and motivated enough to finish it. It is a similar to the affliction of the novel’s horribly self-centered narrator Dwight Wilmerding, a temp for Pfizer who can’t seem to make any kind of decision to improve his life. He rooms with four equally listless males and for some reason he has a girlfriend (the trope of losers somehow having girlfriends always sadden me a bit, for personal reasons). He gets a prescription for a drug named Abulix which is supposed to cure his indecisiveness. He begins taking the medicine, and before he knows if it working or not, takes a trip in search of his lost love, Natasha, and ends up forming a rocky relationship with Brigid. As stated, this book is a little too preoccupied with its own cynicism to approach anything that looks like a true emotion. Its characters, especially its narrator, are symbols for a bored generation as complacent as they are uninteresting. I don’t have much good to say about this novel. Except that it is harmless if you do decide to read, but if you want to enjoy a book, don’t waste your time. 
Rating: 2/5

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