on June 7, 2010 :
An elementary schoolteacher, a ravenous entrepreneur, and a New Age drifter form a company in Southern California to offer one-stop shopping for any kind of spirituality their well-off clientèle might wish. This sounds like the beginning of a joke, as well it should, but this book is awfully unfunny. Instead of jokes about messed-up kids really being “Indigo” and the language of beemers, we get odd metaphors and similes like “A bad vibe was bubbling up in the lava of the day” and “Her lips moved a little, like bananas full of maggots.” Most of the characters are not very likable, which is no sin; although I wasn't crazy about “The Kindly Ones,” you can bet I read it through to the end to see what its sick-pup protagonist would do next. Though this tries to be the Southern California of Didion and DeLillo, the characters and the plot are pretty predictable. The men are snarky and misogynist, the women neurotic and needy. We feel the economy tiptoeing towards the cliff, and see the unsurprising panic when it crashes. I'd love to see more character variety and depth, or at least more humor. The topic has the potential to be extremely humorous.
Gotta go adjust my aura!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on May 23, 2010 :
This Unhappy Planet, is a satirical dramedy about two guys who hatch a scheme to open a chain of spiritual fitness clubs, hoping to get rich quick off of bored yoga moms and affluent New Age seekers. Its brilliance is in Marc's ability to lampoon both the main characters' cynicism as well as the distinctly SoCal brand of pseudo-spiritualism without veering into the realm of mean-spirited caricatures. The characters are imbued with such depth and shading, they are rendered so completely believable, that you can't help but empathize with them even while laughing at their foibles.