without fear of hyperbole

syrup, the first novel by max barry (author of jennifer government), is brilliant. better than jennifer government, even. you should go to the library or bookstore or amazon.com and get this book. the writing is sharp, funny, and brisk. all the previews and reviews of the book i’ve seen don’t really do it justice, but that would be hard to do without revealing much of the plot. (one caveat: it is a pretty quick read. i polished it off in one day.)

the book tied into another thing i’ve been thinking about over the last couple of years: expertise. it is very easy to think you know more about a subject than you do, particularly relative to someone who really does focus on that subject full time. experts make things look easy even when they aren’t. that’s what makes them experts. (this isn’t a major theme in the book or anything — i’d even say the book undermines it’s own point on the matter.)

anyway, the first few paragraphs from the book:

I want to be famous. Really famous.

I want to be so famous that movie stars hang out with me and talk about what a bummer their lives are. I want to beat up photographers who catch me in hotel lobbies with Winona Ryder. I want to be implicated in vicious rumors about Drew Barrymore’s sex parties. And, finally, I want to be pronounced DOA in a small, tired LA hospital after doing speedballs with Matt Damon.

I want it all. I want the American dream.

not bad for an aussie. (here’s the rest of the first chapter, from the author’s site.)

« starting slow october 2, 2003 9:05pm »