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Customer Review

29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An average read, July 25, 2011
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This review is from: Stone Arabia: A Novel (Hardcover)
I initially had a hard time writing a review for this book, so I took some time to think about it for a few days to determine whether I got more or less satisfied with it after some time passed. Stone Arabia is a unique tale of reality vs. illusion, but at times it seemed foiled by its own conceit.

This book is the tale of Nik Worth, a musician and bartender who has created the "Chronicles" of his alter ego-- a fantasy rock star who is far more successful in his music career than Nik himself was. He also releases albums of his alter ego's music to family and friends who still humor him by listening to increasingly experimental work. His Chronicles include such documentation as fake music reviews and interviews with the more successful parallel-universe Nik. Meanwhile, Nik's sister Denise trudges along through life taking care of everyone and everything for her family, and getting increasingly absorbed in stories she sees on the news.

The aspects of this book that I liked book include the detailed inspection of reality vs. illusion and how those boundaries can be crossed for better or for worse. Denise's obsession with the news and her over-identification with the stories she sees mirrors Nik's creation of a completely different life from the one he lives. I didn't much like Nik, but then I don't think that I was supposed to. If he were in my life I would find him utterly unbearable. He represents the worst of what can happen when we sleepwalk through life without seeing the truth around and about ourselves. Denise, on the other hand, is busy taking in all the truth to the point that she has trouble separating her real life from what she sees in the news.

The references to the Nik's detailed artistic process were interesting, but after awhile the endless hipster callouts and the description of the LA punk scene, combined with Nik's utterly self-absorbed and pathetic Chronicles, eventually got more aggravating than interesting. This was an average read, hence the three stars.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 3, 2011 9:11:42 AM PDT
Linda Long says:
Totally agree with this review! Thanks for putting into words what I was thinking, and why I would not recommend this book even though, at times, I found it so absorbing. The author would pull me in with her well written and insightful prose, only to lose me with the endless descriptions of music and the music scene. Also, I couldn't stand Nik and found him increasingly irritating as the story went on.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2011 11:07:16 AM PDT
EJ says:
Thanks Linda!
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