Home > 2008-2009 books, Author of European descent, From: books I own, Genre: Fiction and Literature, Setting: Massachusetts, Setting: New England, Setting: The USA > 37. “An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England,” Brock Clarke

37. “An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England,” Brock Clarke

The title is excellent, but the book didn’t do much for me. No one is that big a bumbler. It was both depressing and unrealistic (but sometimes too realistic). I think mainly that it was the reading metaphor that didn’t do much for me. How self-referential can one book get?

In all the bumbling and the “but we’ll get back to that”s, Clarke’s writing did remind me a bit of Vonnegut, though.

First line:

I, Sam Pulsifer, am the man who accidentally burned down the Emily Dickenson House in Amherst, Massachusetts, and who in the process killed two people, for which I spent ten years in prision and, as letters from scholars of American literature tell me, for which I will continue to pay a high price long into the not-so-sweet hereafter. (p.1)

There is something underwhelming about scholarly hatemail– the sad literary allusions, the refusal to use contractions. (p. 8)

Page count: 303
Page total: 17,514

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