- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Dzanc Books (April 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1938103009
- ISBN-13: 978-1938103001
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sorrow Proper Paperback – April 21, 2015
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"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
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I thought the relationship between the photographer and mathematician was somewhat interesting, although too often the descriptions of their interactions were annoying in the writing. I read one reviewer's comment that the writing in this book is pretentious. That may be a bit harsh but I don't think it's too far off. Although her writing is generally well done, too often I got the feeling that the author was trying to impress readers and herself at the same time. Earlier, I mentioned trying to find the point in this book. Frequently it seems that the point is the author trying to impress herself and her readers. The book is mildly interesting but I wouldn't recommend it.
From the first page: “The hair has fallen out of the bottoms of their weak buns and their pocketbooks are tight against their sides. ... In the parking lot, the rain staining their cardigans dark, they decide to get a drink. ... All those shelves and shelves of books.... All that noise they’d been so diligent to hush.” Um, stereotype much? The Sorrow Proper is full of library and librarian stereotypes and, well, pretentiousness.
Everything about this book is depressing - from the relationship between the deaf mathematician and the photographer, which sometimes ends in her death and sometimes in his, to the emptying of the library of books to be replaced by computers, to the increasingly desperate drinking by the four stereotypical librarians, to the birds that fly into the library's windows and die, collecting on the windowsills until they decay.
“Is the library the building or the books? she thinks. It is an edifice as certain but abstract as math.” (p. 81). Is this profound or pretentious? I’m going with pretentious. Recommended for readers who like depressing pretentious literary fiction.