Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: "Innocents and Others" by Dana Spiotta

Despite some really cool premises she concocts (which is a nicer way of saying that they are idiot proof), I find the work of writer Dana Spiotta to be very uninteresting and very far down the American literary ladder, and her new novel, Innocents and Others, is further proof of that. Even with some really cool movie references, and an intriguing first chapter, Spiotta fails to tie it all together in a way that is cohesive or even interesting or skillful. The fragments of these three or four story threads are nice by themselves, but when they are brought together, the stitching that binds them is very rough and ugly, and for a novel, I find it imperative that whatever fragments are brought forth must make sense by the end. And here, they simply don’t. At the center of this novel are two female friends turned filmmakers, Carrie and Meadow, who bond over their love of film in New York city in the 80’s but drift apart as the years go on and find different kinds of success in the film world. What brings them together is Jelly, a sort of faceless woman who cold calls famous and powerful people and listens to their wants and needs. What ties these three stories together is sloppy and weakest angle of the novel and the book’s other more interesting aspects, like the aforementioned first chapter, overshadow it where Meadow, it is suggested, has a brief affair with Orson Welles before his death. Like her previous novel, Stone Arabia, I don’t think I will take much from this novel. It looks like she is trying here with some of the book’s more inspired syntactical choices, but this book plummets quickly down a mediocre hole, and the reader is left with a boring narrative they can’t wait to get through. At least the movie references are fun.

Rating: 3/5

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