February 12, 2004

Martin Bauman; or, A Sure Thing
David Leavitt

Surely Not -- I'm a sucker for stories about writers, especially gay writers, and I've been impressed with David Leavitt's other writing, though it took me several years and several books before I considered myself a fan. I ultimately set aside this book when I read the fairly favorable Times review, which cautioned that the novel loses steam in the second half. Well, I never even chugged through the first half. By page 124 I had found no fresh insights, no captivating characters and few finely turned phrases to motivate a continued reading of this plodding, so-what, who-cares, ho-hum, semi-autobiographical tale. All I found myself thinking about was the writer Mark Wukas' great lesson, "Real life is no excuse for bad fiction."


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