Reading: Thomas Mullen’s New Book; “First” of 2010

January 22, 2010

My LibraryThing Early Reviewer book came yesterday afternoon from Random House: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen. I’m more excited to read this particular pick than most, for a few reasons.

I read Mullen’s first book, The Last Town on Earth, a few years ago, and though I was eager, quite eager, to read it, it didn’t quite work out for me (read my review).

It’s not a bad book, but it doesn’t feel as polished or as meaningful as I would have expected, given all the good press. There is something about it, maybe the overemphasis on Douglas firs, that makes it obvious that the writer doesn’t live ’round here (Pac NW). There is no dearth of grimness in the novel, either, and a surprising amount of violence–neither of which is bad on its own but feels harsh when following a lot of not-terribly-well-written chapters.
—Excerpt from my review, December, 2007

In retrospect, maybe I was too harsh. Maybe I was in a bad mood. But whatever the case, I get to give Mullen another chance with his new novel, which comes out on January 26.

Blast! It’s the 22nd. That only gives me a few days to read it if I want to get it done and reviewed before release (Random House took a bit longer than usual dispatching my copy; thus the tight timeline). I’m in the throes of Nabokov’s torpid second novel (King, Queen, Knave) right now and am hesitant to break off and try to get Firefly Brothers read. On the other hand, it’s already made Amazon’s Best Books of January 2010.

It’s also my “first” book of 2010. Each year, I take note of the first book I obtain that is copyrighted that year. Yep, this one is ©2010! Feels almost like I’m reading the future.

Choices, choices! Help!

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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