Literary Fave: Dana Spiotta

9781501122729_8f332Called one of the “most anticipated” novels of this season, with that status further cemented by an author profile in the NYT‘s Sunday Magazine, Dana Spiotta’s Innocents and Others (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio; OverDrive Sample) is the book that all the critics want to weigh in on.

The Washington Post ‘s influential critic Ron Charles is a fan, calling it a “quiet miracle,”

“If you enter the theater of this novel, get set to weather some disorientation as soon as the lights dim … but stay in your seat and pay attention. Soon enough, all [Spiotta’s] literary chicanery comes into focus, creating a brilliant split-screen view of women working within and without the world of Hollywood.”

But the daily NYT‘s formidable Michiko Kakutani couldn’t disagree more:

“Unfortunately, Innocents does not deliver on its ambitions … [it] turns out to be a lumpy, unpersuasive novel — enlivened by some arresting moments and thoughtful riffs, but ultimately a sort of hodgepodge of derivative scenes and ideas that have been cut together into a meaning-heavy montage.”

Few are on Kakutani’s side. This week’s NYT Book Review devotes an entire page to an  appreciative review saying, “Highbrow and lowbrow have cohabitated before, of course, but rarely with this ease or this empathy.” Also strongly positive are the Los Angeles Times, New York magazine, and Vogue.

Entertainment Weekly, however, having listed it as one of “25 books we can’t wait to read in 2016,” follows with a review that gives it just a “B,”  saying the “taught modernist” writing is ultimately “chilly emotionally.”

So far, all the attention isn’t grabbing reader interest. Holds queues are modest, but since libraries ordered very few copies, the ratios are high.

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