To the extent that I enjoy plotless navel-gazing, I enjoyed reading "Leaving Antioch Station." It was very clever in places and sometimes endearingly self-deprecating. I enjoyed it enough to read Lerner's most rest book.
It would've been easy for this debut novel to get decimated in the mine field of cliches and overly-familiar situations. You've got a feckless American poet on a fellowship in Spain who spends much time doing drugs and pursuing Spanish women than writing. You've got a narrator is a bit of a jerk, yet self-aware enough to make him less of a jerk. And you've got the Madrid bombing of 2004 for some historical weight. Yet Ben Lerner, a poet himself, makes it all hum beautifully, taking these hackneyed elements and creating something funny, nuanced, and moving. Partly it's because he pays unusually close attention to language and the book reads very well and partly it's because he embraces the cliches and breathes new life into them. Also see his most recent novel "10:04."
excellent. loved this and would read it again. so much going on here, and also funny.
Interesting, original, funny and thought provoking.
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