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Thoughts on Benjamin Kunkel's Indecision - Literary Fiction Lovers [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Thoughts on Benjamin Kunkel's Indecision [Nov. 8th, 2005|12:08 pm]
Literary Fiction Lovers

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I have to admit that, being a young writer, I tend to roll my eyes whenever a new author gets propped up by amazing reviews, and have been known to express my envy by not actually reading such books (I haven't managed to read Nicole Krauss for this reason, though my pettiness will subside soon enough I think). But I finally decided to get Indecision, when I read an article online with a quote from the book that said something along the lines of, "Whenever I feel lost and I have nothing to do, I check my e-mail." I somehow identified.



And even though this novel's protagonist, Dwight Wilmerding, is the kind of late 20's smart yet losery New Yorker that I've seen too much of, I still can't help but be charmed by his self-deprecation and obvious intelligence amid his slackeriness. I'm annoyed that I"m charmed, but alas I can't help myself.

The book isn't particularly plotty, though the story concerns Dwight floating along his New York 20's and deciding to take a new drug, Abulanix, to cure his chronic indecision. He then goes to Ecuador to see Natasha, a girl from high school, but instead finds himself involved with an Argentinian-Belgian socialist hottie named Brigid, who provides him not just with sex but with political passion.

And yet the strength of this book is its effortless tone, that combination of wit and laidbackness that only someone who is both smart and underachieving can actually achieve. I'm really fond of un-self-conscious fiction (maybe this is why I haven't managed to get into David Foster Wallace), and Indecision has this quality in full force. It's a book I want to hug despite myself.
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