Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dangling by Yeva Wiest

TITLE: Dangling
AUTHOR: Yeva Wiest
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 27k)
GENRE: Gay black comedy
COST: $3.50

Archangels Michael and Gabriel are about to witness another city get destroyed because of its own arrogance. This time, it’s Washington DC

There were a number of books I was looking forward to reading this year, based on previous experiences with the authors. This was one of them. Because of my backlogged TBR pile, it’s taken me longer to get around to it, but here it finally is. I only wish I’d enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first book I tried by this author.

That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s not. There seems to be a definite improvement in the story’s editing, with fewer errors, but the author continues to choose an omniscient POV and hops from head to head all the way throughout, sometimes even in the context of the same paragraph. It’s not as jarring as it was the first time, maybe because I expected it, so that helped make the reading smoother. The author’s fearlessness shines through, as well. Characters will flame, and characters will be over the top, and it all serves to further the story along.

That being said, it just didn’t ring as original or funny to me as her first story. In this, we have two angels who, through the ages, are responsible for helping God with finding and/or destroying evil cities. Sodom. Gomorrah. Now Washington DC. Gabriel is a transgender, unable to decide whether to be a man or a woman, and swaps between the two identities with ease. The men they are after are convinced America needs to be saved from the homosexual and Muslim agendas, and they’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get America on board with their plan. The entire treatment is very heavy-handed, and while the humor is there – albeit not as fresh – it’s not enough to counteract the very preachy nature of the ideas, even as topical and important as they are. Then, just when it seems like everything is going to get interesting, it kind of stops. A one-page epilogue is there to tie up the loose ends, but it feels far too convenient and like shorthand for actual development of the climax and denouement.

Still, I have to love authors who dare to take these kinds of risks. Sometimes, stuff like this needs to be said. I sincerely hope Ms. Wiest never stops holding back. There’s a unique voice in all of this, even if this particular story didn’t work as well for me.


7/10 – The satire and boldness carries this through, not the prose


7/10 – Some border on caricature, others were richer


7/10 – The ending is far too rushed and convenient to hold the plot’s earlier weight

Entertainment value

6/10 – Not as funny as the first of her works that I’ve read

World building

6/10 – It felt like too much got bitten off for the length of the story.




Obsidian Bookshelf said...

This is an author I'm looking forward to reading because I've heard so much about her first novel. I tend to dislike heavy-handed political fiction because the more heavy-handed the agenda gets, the more condescending it seems on the author's part as if he or she thinks the readers are stupid. So I might find the subtext here to be annoying. But on the other hand, no one else seems to be doing gay black comedy, and that's definitely worth a read! Thanks for the review.

Book Utopia Mom said...

Yeah, I haven't found anybody who seems to be doing the same things this author is, but you've hit it on the head. It can sometimes be hard to avoid the condescension. I find her work interesting and definitely worth watching.