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Stockholm: A Novel (2000)

by Kian Kaul(Favorite Author)
3.81 of 5 Votes: 2
languge
English
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review 1: This one's tough to review. I received a free copy through the Goodreads First Reads program, which is a great way to discover authors and works that might otherwise be overlooked, but Stockholm didn't do much for me overall.The underlying premise of a social media driven society is interesting enough, it is simply in the execution of the tale that something is lacking. I understand that this is a somewhat experimental work that is stylistically "outside the box", and tried to keep that in mind when reading, but there is a reason some people read books and others watch sitcoms (or choose to do the two at different times). For me this was like reading episodes of some "Friends" / "Big Bang Theory" mashup sitcom; just without the humor. A great deal of idle conversation in c... moreoffee shops, apartments, conference tables and clubs, with very little forward progress.Not to say that the author doesn't show a certain level of intelligent observation. Couched beneath the seemingly banal, there are hints of a subtle wit and some astute reflections on life, which gems are worth digging for, if you have the patience. It was this that kept me reading, persevering where my initial instinct was to put the book down before I had even read the first 100-pages.As with any indie art form, be it music, movies, books or whatever, I am sure that the style will appeal to some and not others, within a smaller audience than more mainstream efforts. I enjoyed a move away from the typical potboiler, plot-driven story that one finds crowding the bestseller lists, but at the same time missed the simple writing conventions, such as the use of "He said", "She said" tags. Reading a 454-page novel without one occurrence of a clarifying "Anakin said," or Danny replied", meant frequently going back and re-reading a page of tennis-match dialogue to figure out who was speaking to what..The characters appeared very flat and unemotional, robotic almost, but I'm not sure whether this is a deliberate effect to portray the cold, disconnected society we are to become in the future / are becoming right now, or just poor writing, so will give the author the benefit of the doubt and say it was deliberate. Unfortunately, in either case, since we as readers live through the characters, their lack of emotion is carried through to us, and as such I was never able to become personally involved in their lives. I didn't really care what happened to any of them. In a similar vein, there was minimal description to help shape and identify characters (which might make sense in a sitcom format, since you get to see them and recognize them immediately on screen, but in literary form they become just a bunch of faceless names). As mentioned before, I felt there was a relevance to what the author appeared to be trying to say, which led me to stick with the work to the end. I was certain that there would be some resolution beyond the "episodes" of the characters' lives, following a typical narrative arc, but unfortunately I didn't feel any more enlightened at the end than at the beginning, and was therefore disappointed. It may be a simple lack of understanding on my part, or a failure to read with the depth required, but ultimately for me the experience was merely okay.For a first work it has its positive points. Kian Kaul shows a talent for grasping the idiosyncracies of life and the nuances of social interaction. Even in what to me was a story of very limited plot, there was enough entertaining dialogue and hints of unseen developments to keep me engaged to the end, and it did open up some avenues for reflection about the world in which we live that lasted beyond the final page. I would be interested to see what the author produces with his next work.I appreciate the author's efforts, and the dedication it takes to complete such a work, as well as the opportunity provided to me through Goodreads to be selected as a reader / reviewer of this book. Thank you!
review 2: (no spoilers)Almost finished with this and I never thought I would read a book that wasn't published from a major company but this is just as good as ones that I've read recently, so you never know.My friend who told me about it said your supposed to read it one chapter at a time, he said it was like a "tv show". Only in this book the chapters are longer and called 'episodes' so that makes sense. I could imagine this as a tv show on HBO or Showtime, that's kind of how it feels sometimes.The story is about a guy who wants to be a filmmaker in commercials or advertising and keeps getting into trouble with people until he meets this actress and then gets caught up in a lot of political kind of stuff in the entertainment industry.I don't know a whole hell of a lot about the tv and movie business except what I saw on "Extras" the Ricky Gervais show and shows like that but it's not hard to relate, a job in a job, in that sense. Anyway, I kept going back and forth from wanting to smack the main character for being how he is all the time to wishing I could be more like him sometimes in real life. He's one of those characters that sort of does and says things in their own way, like you want to do but know you can't. The story like I said is pretty surprising sometimes, you don't know where it's going to turn out so you just have to go along for the ride. That also reminds me of a tv show where you don't know what's going to happen that season, so hopefully that makes sense.There's a lot of funny stuff with the characters in the advertising company that was sort of like "The Office" or stories like that, but not a copy of it. Also the main character changes a lot over the course of the story and that's been pretty interesting to see how he grows. All in all, I'm happy I read it (almost finished) and would probably check out he author again (I haven't heard of him/her before) less
Reviews (see all)
yumi
Downloaded this thru Goodreads, but can't access the file.
Delyn
kinda sounds like don delillo a bit,or bret eastin ellis
Kwin
Interesting book. I have enjoyed it so far.
Isatanure
Anybody read this yet, seems interesting
vankygrace
when does this come out?
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