Olear, Greg. Totally Killer. William Morrow, 2009. ISBN 978-0061735295 pp. $
This tale of a downtrodden Gen Xer on a fruitless job search during the 90’s recession who owes her headhunting service a whole new kind of favor is delightful, well-paced, snortingly funny, and wonderfully satiric, and firmly entrenched in the year 1991, sure to appeal to others of my generation.
Although the sexy protagonist is 23, the story is told by her former roommate, and in the present, and this lens gives a more reflective feel to the book.
One reviewer called it “American Psycho meets I Love the ’90s” and this is the more accurate description than anything I could write 🙂 Tons of allusions, definitely a fun read.
Ames, Greg. Buffalo Lockjaw. Hyperion, 2009. ISBN 978-1401309800 290 pp. $
James Fitzroy has returned to his hometown, on leave from his job writing greeting cards, to spend the holidays with his family. His mother, a former nurse, has rapidly declined in her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and a copy of the Dummies Guide to Assisted Suicide sits in the backseat of James’s rental car like Chekhov’s rifle. An immature young 20-something who has struggled with addiction and bad life choices, James is still recovering from his adolescent competition with his overachieving, smooth sailer of a sister, trying to be a newly unrebellious version of himself.
The city of Buffalo NY is characterized thorough transcribed interviews James has done with a variety of natives. The writing has a lovely balance to it: past and present, birth and death, memory and the lack thereof. The ending has a refreshing twist to it.