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Making Scenes Paperback – April 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Like a boxing match, hypertext the original format of much of this novel demands quick, punchy prose that will keep the reader riveted between mouse clicks. Sex helps, too. But while this first print effort by veteran hypertext writer Eisen has generous helpings of both, it serves mostly as a cautionary tale about the difficulty of moving Internet-ready writing to the page. The unnamed narrator is a stunning young woman who wants to play professional beach volleyball at least until she decides to become a model, and then a graduate student. Her succession of nonstarter relationships with variously inaccessible men is matched only by her inability to keep a job for longer than one chapter. Beset by a series of issues straight out of a glossy women's magazine eating disorders, lack of self-esteem, the could-you-be-a-lesbian question she moves from Chicago to Los Angeles to Boston with money donated by her parents and lovers. Despite the narrator's frenetic bed and job hopping, it doesn't take long to figure out that this novel isn't really going anywhere. Eisen writes short, pithy scenes anchored by clever observation; this tactic works well for attention-deprived computer readers, but when the scenes are laid end-to-end in a novel, their inherent repetitiveness is as apparent as one of the narrator's doomed relationships. Eisen can write a sex scene, that's for sure, but this narrator proves what many suspect even sex with a beautiful woman can grow tiresome. This aspires to be a high-art Bridget Jones, but in the end it's simply an issue of Cosmo at three times the price.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"By turns comic, sad, shocking, desperate, heroic, wry and discerning." -- Jim Krusoe, author of Blood Lake and Other Stories
"Erotic and at times, hilarious." -- ArtByte Magazine
"Subversive journeys with a post-feminist satirical edge that cuts deep into the American psyche." -- Mark Amerika, author of grammatron
Top customer reviews
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Making Scenes is the story of (actually, four stories about, but we'll not split that hair here) the Everywoman of the 1990s as given us by Eisen. She's bulimic but handling it, unsure about her various relationships, trying to find a steady job in a shaky market, and dreams of being a professional beach volleyball player. Unlike most, she has an actual shot at it, and spends the majority of her time outside her various stress-causing activities either playing volleyball, getting ready to play volleyball, or coming home from playing volleyball. And while that may sound monotonous, it's anything but. No one writes novels about professional beach volleyball. And what we get of it here, especially filtered through the eyes of our protagonist (and her relationship crises-- after all, volleyball is a team sport), is interesting enough to have been a novel in itself.
It should have been, and I guess I have to split that hair. The novel lacks consistency, and I get the idea that this is because it's actually four separate stories that take place at various times in the protagonist's life as she attempts to reach her dream. Marketed as a related collection of short stories, I mgiht have been more prepared for the jarring between sections. Also, it often seems like the material on what's happening outside the volleyball obsession is somewhat extraneous. The bulimia aspect is obviously tied in closely, but the outside-volleyball relationships aren't. Perhaps I'm looking at it from the wrong POV, as the book has earned high praise from erotica aficionados, but I got the feeling Eisen was focusing more on the volleyball and that the erotica aspect was less important.
The two didn't quite mesh for me. ** 1/2
If you're not sure if you want to get this book, I suggest you look at her site first, you won't be disappointed
I know this isn't much of a review, but judge for yourself with the free stuff online.