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BOOKSHOTS REVIEW: Kafka didn't save me. He just told me I was drowning.




Who wrote it?

Mark Slouka, American novelist and critic. Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia University, Guggenheim Fellow, Harper's Magazine associate editor.


Plot in a Box:

Broken and abused best friends Jon and Ray navigate the doldrums of small-minded, small-town life in 1968.


Invent a new title for this book:

Running Uphill


Read this if you liked:

Anything by Raymond Carver, and if you would like it minus the loneliness and booze.

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, or any other King story where he riffs on the North Eastern Soul.

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff


Meet the book’s lead:

Jon Mosher is a hyper-intelligent teenager being raised in a small upstate New York town by Jewish parents who survived the holocaust. Needless to say, it’s a cheery household.


Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

I kind of hate this question. Thanks to Slouka’s stripped down prose, Jon could be anyone. So, I’m going to pilot a time machine to 2004 and bring back Mysterious Skin era Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play the role.


Setting: Would you want to live there?

Oh, God, no.  Brewster, NY isn't the kind of town you intentionally move to, it's somewhere you end up because of a job transfer or marriage.


What was your favorite sentence?

Kafka didn't save me. He just told me I was drowning. This life, this love—was meant for you. I am now going to shut it.
Which was something.


The Verdict:


Read the rest of Keith's review here!