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Book Talk 34: Oh the Glory of It All

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The novel: Oh the Glory of It All-Sean Wilsey

The cover of this novel was the first thing that caught my eye in the bookstore. The black and white design swirling over an interesting title, and when I flipped to the back cover, and saw that the first blurb compared it to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Infinite Jest (also: why am I reading so many memoirs all of a sudden? I have no idea, but it's charming and fun anyway), I couldn't resist picking it up. (Not to mention, Sean Wilsey's an editor of McSweeney's)

So, I started the book in the bookstore, then read about half of it on the second half of my flight to China, then read bits of it on and off in China, then read the majority of it on my flight back, and finally finished the last bits a couple of days ago. This was an adventure. Featuring all the bizarre things I've come to expect in memoirs like sex, drugs, beautiful people, fucked up people, evil stepmothers, detached parents, all sorts of conflicting emotions and situations that were as entertaining to read as it must have been disturbing to experience. The beauty of the memoir, that made it far more realistic seeming than other memoirs I've read were the rich details and layered description Sean Wilsey took the liberty of sharing. The newspaper article clippings, the familiar famous names in relation to his family, the society events and life style that we've always wondered and fantasized about, it's all there.

And while his family history and too much information tends to overwhelm the actual "story", and some periods of his life deserved far more pages than others, his tone, style, and unbelievable life makes this a book worth reading (albeit a bit long...)



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