The Happiest People in the World: A Novel
1 journaler for this copy...
Brock Clarke's novel begins and ends with a bloodbath -- the same bloodbath, to be sure, but told from differing perspectives. The journey to that bloodbath is quirky, disconcerting, and filled with oddly poetic moments and disturbingly charming characters: Matty, the high school principal who also owns the town's most popular drinking establishment; Locs, the CIA operative still in love with Matty despite his return to his wife; Ellen, Matty's wife, who runs the bar and yearns for her husband to be someone other than who he is; Kurt, their teenage son, who might possibly be smarter than his parents although he hasn't figured that out yet; and a host of other idiosyncratic individuals, young and old, who make up the population of this tiny hotbed of intrigue.
Tight prose, simple straightforward sentences, great plot, great characters. I should have loved this book.
Here's the reason this is only six stars: its overweening self-conscious irony, almost like the author imbued his prose with a subtext that gloats, "Hahahah, look how clever I am!" And he is clever, but was it necessary to be so self-congratulatory about it?
Or maybe it's just that my sense of hipster sophistication is lacking.
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