Better

John O'Brien, Author . Akashic $15.95 (198p) ISBN 978-1-933354-82-8

The newest novel from Leaving Las Vegas author O'Brien (1960–1994) imagines a Los Angeles house full of shut-ins, alcoholics, prostitutes and quasi-philosophers. Like the other residents in his atypical household, narrator William pays no rent, buys no groceries and has no knowledge of how Double Felix, the group's benefactor, pays for their indulgent lifestyle. Unconcerned with the mystery, William spends his days focusing on his attraction to Double Felix and newcomer Laurie, as well as drinking excessively, watching The Love Boat and sleeping with his sometimes-girlfriend Zipper. As both William and Double Felix vie for Laurie's affection, the plot begins clicking with a wild rivalry and jealous domestic partners. Unfortunately, the dustup comes too little, too late; the deed, when it's finally done, with Laurie, does curiously little to affect anyone. A predictable climax answers some questions, but isn't the jaw-dropper it's set up to be. Though basket-case William is an entertaining narrator, this third posthumous work from O'Brien is largely unsatisfying, leaving readers to wonder what a final revision from the late author could have produced. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/15/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-61775-046-5
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