Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Person by Sam Pink

Sam Pink's Person is probably best summed up by one of the best sentences in the book.

I live in Chicago and I don't get along with a lot of people and the reasons are always new and wonderful.

There is not much going on in the way of plot here. In fact, a good chunk of this is book is the main character doing nothing and his thoughts on doing nothing. I think the mind of the protagonist reflects the screaming, vaguely vaginal face on the cover art (done by Sam Pink himself) very well. His mind is strange, disturbed and somewhat perverted.

The main character is unemployed, aimless and is constantly thinking of death and suicide. The man is in deep despair, and this is one of the funniest downward spirals I've ever seen. Sam Pink has a wonderfully dark sense of humor that makes this such an enjoyable read. One of the first things we see the main character doing is contemplating accosting a homeless man dressed like him. It's a funny moment that sets the tone for the rest of the book very well.

One "trick" that Sam Pink does in this novella is have certain chapters as "alternative versions" to the previous chapter. However, few of chapters feel like true alternatives. Many of them feel like they could simply be a similar events happening at different times. I like this, it makes it feel like the novella is ambiguous about whether the main character is progressing in any way or is simply stuck in routines.

A fault with a couple of the alternative version chapters is that they feel unnecessary. One of them, for example, simply reads like it is filling in details excluded from the previous chapter.

A small nitpick I have with this book is the lack of question marks. I'm honestly not sure whether this is a stylistic choice or just something overlooked in editing. Given that there are uses of exclamation points, I'm somewhat inclined to think the latter.

In spite of these minor flaws, this was a very fun read. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to reading more of Sam Pink's work.

Buy Person by Sam Pink here.


Ann Sterzinger said...

Sounds like fun!

Ann Sterzinger said...

Just bought it on Kindle... I am electrohoor. But... I can read more books for less money this way, for the most part. And I like to think authors get a slightly bigger cut than they would otherwise this way. Everything will turn to dust eventually anyway... Thanks for the recommendation!

Ben Arzate said...

Hope you enjoy it Ann!