What an utterly fantastic book.
The finest novel in American Literature in a long time.
The themes are very intricately interwoven.
I won’t be able to review this book right away.
It will take too much time, so I will break with tradition and revise this review over time.
Although I will level some of my harshest criticism to date against poor Lauren’s work, I qualify it with this: her writing in this work is utterly brilliant. This again will be a work of American literature that will be examined in Literature classes for at least the next 50 years.
The ending words are epic and will endear the book to me forever. The best simple phrase in American Literature since “So it goes”.
It is an absolute must-read for anyone who loves true American Literature.
I will say this, it is a remarkable ode to Cooperstown. We all needed that.
All we ever get is: “huh that’s where the baseball hall of fame is and such”.
Now, thanks to Lauren Groff, we can build on the old mythology with a new one. She gives us back our sense of mystery and history in Cooperstown. She pulls us back behind the hall of fame era.
What I like:
The elaborate geneological research. The time in the library.
The juxstaposition of modern day with past character development.
She draws in Cooper, his family and his characters and makes them into real people for the purposes of the story.
She gives us our very own Loch Ness Monster. I really like the monster.
She loves the Yankees (this is truly hip)
She channels Erica Jong with her: “Yes I am feminist but I actually like men style” which is very refreshing and recalls the Jong perspective of female sexuality. Botendaddy’s theory is you can be feminist or even lesbian yet not hate men. If you hate men, then you have unresolved issues or are pursuing another agenda.
What I don’t like:
The whole super-cool, super-hip academia thing is very derivative of Michael Chabon (whose writing I utterly detest). Note: Botendaddy has been involved in several university research projects and I love the Academic environment. Both of Botendaddy’s parents were archeologists at one time. Again, Groff is a vastly superior writer to Chabon.
The thinly-veiled academic snobbery-no one is truly complete unless they went to Harvard or Stanford.
The neo-I’m against organized religion but only if it’s christianity. (I’m not a Christian, but I find a lot less to fear in them and their various representations be they Mormon, Catholic Protestant than I do in some other faiths). But the lake monster, it’s pure goodness, it’s love of people even though they could harm it, the rebirth, could it be an unintended metaphor for Christ? Does Groff separate Christ as a being from the church as a social construct?