Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Should a Person Be? (by Sheila Heti)

This was the love-it-or-hate-it book of the 2013 Tournament of Books (it knocked out Bring Up the Bodies in a big upset) and aych, the friend who leant it to me, hated it. Well I loved it. Loved it!

I understand why some people might not like it, might think it's too facile or McSweeney's or gimmicky, but I really loved it. It can be funny: "We live in an age of some really great blow-job artists. Every era has its art form. The 19th century, I know, was tops for the novel." It can be profound: "One thinks sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can’t be happy, let them at least be unhappy—really, really unhappy for once, and then they might truly be human.

I just loved Heti's writing, I thought it was original and energetic. If it came down to this or Building Stories in my own personal 2013 Tournament of Books, I might pick this one too. (But I wouldn't expect anyone to agree with me.)

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