Destined for the Dirty-Book Bin

B. J. Novak at the Paris Review:

Candy begins with exhilarating precision; the opening chapters are my favorite pages of any book ever written, with its exquisitely tuned language guiding us through an ecstatic parody of outrageous ego-driven meaninglessness, pulled off with the combination of subtle precision and insane audacity that you might find in a pilot successfully flying a plane under the Brooklyn Bridge. As it continues, the book’s writing gradually collapses, with an entropy that might well be described as obscene, into a tone of sloppy, lascivious wildness that syncs well with its plot. Along the way, it goes on extremely unnecessary tangents to satirize nearly everything imaginable to an audience of its time: psychotherapy, New York City, Hollywood screenwriting, Jewish mothers, quack doctors, New Age healing, progressive causes, pretension, naïveté, innocence, idealism, corruption, generosity, selfishness, spiritual searching, gurus, the male gaze, awareness of the male gaze, “daddy issues,” sexual repression, sexual liberation—as one review suggested, sex itself—and perhaps most of all, the reader who would buy such a book—a person they surely pictured on the banks of the Seine, scratching his head as to what the hell he was reading and whether it was turning him on or not.

more here.

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