Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ok, the Supermale, finally a review

The Supermale by Alfred Jarry, reissued by Exact Change. It's about a guy who can have sex over and over without getting tired as well as run really fast and being really strong. The book starts out strongly enough, but gets bogged down halfway through. There are four major events that it's centered around: first, a dinner party where all of the characters are introduced, secondly, a race between a train and a group of cyclists eating perpetual motion food, thirdly, a contest to see if the Supermale can beat having sex seventy times in twenty four hours, and finally the Supermale's death. Section one and two are great, with the first section really standing out for its literary style and humor. Section three sees the book start to lose steam. Actually, it not only starts to lose steam but runs out of it so much that its speed becomes glacial. It's a large section and one so big that the actual sex takes up a small amount of it. Nothing happens and Jarry writes paragraph after paragraph that say nothing very slowly. And that's that, mostly, section four being pretty much an epilogue.

I think the problem is that Jarry had a good concept in his head, but was unable to sustain it. Pure and simple. And then he tried to cover up not being able to sustain it. It's never bad, but it's not always good even though when it is good it's very good.

A fun read but not worth $15. Don't let Jarry's genuine genius make you feel that you need to buy this book if the story doesn't really grab you.

*on edit: I just realized that this is potentially the worst book review in history. I said next to nothing about the book itself in specifics, didn't give you guys and gals anything any nice flowing descriptions that would give y'all a sense of the spirit of the book, and I didn't give you any quotes. However, I'm really not motivated enough about this book to put all of it in after the fact. Maybe on the next one.

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