Sunday, January 08, 2006

06.01 Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel


Indecision (2005) by Benjamin Kunkel

I was given this book as a Christmas present from some readers who I know and respect. I think, however, that they were swayed in their purchasing decision by glowing reviews.

The book concerns a young man named Dwight Wilmerding who is an aimless, prep-school New Yorker. We follow his musing on life, family, relationships and basically any and everything that crosses his mind. Eventually he is let go from his wage-slave job as a sub-sub-contractor for Pfizer and becomes convinced that his chronic indecision is an affliction which, of course, he shares with his whole peer group.

A roommate who works in the pharmaceutical industry hooks him up with a trial version of a new drug, Abulinx, which promises to relieve him of this illness. The story then veers rather wildly as he decides on a whim to fly to Ecuador to try hooking up with an old classmate, the hot Dutch girl Natasha.

His final epiphany involves occurs in an indigenous drug induces haze with the beautiful, yet ambiguous, Briget from Belgium.

The tone of the book is very light and annoying at times. the author brings up some pretty heavy issues (politics, incest, philosophy) but plays them of in what can feel at times like a "I'm a well educated New Englander - who are you" tone. In many ways, his style reminded me of Nick Hornby (who I enjoy) or Dave Eggers (who I don't).

I don't think there is any special reason to take a look at this novel.


Olman Feelyus said...

Thanks for taking the grenade on this one. I'm getting tired of these generaton x and y'ers (and the publishers who publish them) who think it's okay for us to read their personal memoirs when they haven't even lived a life. It's worse than the b&w comics memoirs that went nuts a few years ago. It's obvious these people can't tell a story, so they try to tell their own and when they realize nothing happens in their lives, they either make a bunch of crazy stuff up or get all self-analytical. Wasted words from the elite of a wasted generation.

dsgran said...

interesting that you equate the writing of eggers and hornby - both sort of angsty gen x, pop culture. I too enjoy Hornby, but dislike Eggers, but I can't help feeling like it might be the other way around if I was british. In other words, i wonder if my prediliction for Hornby has to do with the 'foreign' (to the extent that england is 'foreign'), and my dislike of eggers is just lumping him in with american-gen-x, and not really judging them on their own merits. Its hard to say what I like about Hornby without thinking how I don't like those same things about Eggers.

Crumbolst said...

Laid off from Pfizer? A hot chick named Natasha from Holland? A hot chick named Brigett from Belgium? That's enough to keep me away. Thanks for the head's up.