Friday, July 12, 2013

Interstate: A Novel by Stephen Dixon

Interstate: A Novel
Eight different characters, each with his or her own perspective on the tragedy, recount the drive-by shooting of a child in the back seat of her father's car.

This book’s premise was promising. It immediately caught my attention because it sounded like completely like something I’d love to read. It is about an accident on the interstate told over and over from different points and perspectives; one of the kind of books that is full of details and nuances. Unfortunately, it did not deliver on its promise.

The main issue I found was its length. It really is too long. It is too “wordy”. I understand that most of it is stream-of-thought, but it could still be trimmed down to a more manageable level. Even the first chapter, when we see the whole accident and its consequences, would have needed a good edit. The first chapter, or the first “story”, is the best of the bunch, and I think would have been served better by standing alone. It is complex enough on its own and it really doesn’t need all the other retellings.

The rest of the chapters feel superfluous, which is a harsh thing to say, since this does attempt to be a full-length novel, but it just droned on and on, every little minutia of the main character’s life told over and over, in different ways, yes, but not different enough to make it amusing.

I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t work for me.

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