I picked up a book at the library, pretty much at random; it had a cool cover (observe
) and a cover quote by Charles Yu, so I figured it was readable.
It is more than readable. The Weirdness
is a giggle-fit-inducing book, the kind where you end up giving fist-pumps in the middle of chapters because something awesome happens, the kind where you pass it to the other people in the room so they can read a particularly good bit. (I would have read it aloud, but it was about the possibility of renting a Zipcar to have a private space to have sex, and my kids were in the room.) It's funny, and manages to keep the tension and--dare I say it--the weirdness running until the end.
The protagonist, Billy Ridgeway, is a walking Brooklyn hipster stereotype--the earnest young man holding down a menial job and barely managing to navigate his relationship with his girlfriend while trying to write A Great Novel. And it is, very much, a 'guy' novel--Billy has trouble connecting with women, his thoughts on sexuality are not terribly enlightened, he lives in a cloud of unexamined privilege--but, luckily, the novel doesn't have these problems. Female and non-white characters are as roundly portrayed as others, and, in fact, get to save the day at several key points.
The novel kicks off with Billy, clueless and hungover, getting a visit from one Lucifer Morningstar, who wants to make a deal with him (he has a PowerPoint and everything). The twists and turns that Billy goes through in trying to figure out whether to make a deal with the Devil, how to make said deal, and what to do when it all goes tits up at various points are incredibly satisfying to watch. What's particularly good is that the novel manages to pick up on all the threads that it drops at various points--all of the various elements that could just be the random detritus of Billy's life end up having some kind of meaning in the end, usually at least a little bit hilarious.
I loved this novel as two kinds of person--one, someone who spent my twenties living in Brooklyn, hanging out with hipsters and struggling artists, and so therefore recognizes Billy and his crowd--a slightly exaggerated version of what life is really like for folks like that, as absurd as it is and worthy of mocking. Second, I loved it as someone who loves very, very realistic supernatural AUs in (fan)fiction--yes, we're in the service of Satan and having to go fight a powerful warlock, but why did we decide to drive? Traffic this time of day is awful
on the west side. It's a very satisfying read, nicely twisted together, genre savvy (even though its protagonist isn't, not really), and very funny.
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