Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen. where's the cover art phil?
Didn't finish it; let's get that out of the way right up front.
I'm not saying it stinks, but what I am saying is that it reads like an unedited ramble. I took a quick look for other reviews to see if I'm crazy. I don't usually do this, I'm not really interested in what others think when I write about a book I've read, but I didn't read this one--not all of it anyways, I ended up reading a bit more than half before giving up in frustration. The New York Times reviewer, Mark Sarvas, called this book meta-Fiction, and went on to say: "As God tests the endurance and faith of the Israelites, Cohen will test the commitment of his readers." Amen, brother.
So why has this been described as meta-? This is a book by Joshua Cohen about a writer named Joshua Cohen, who is ghost writing the autobiography of some tech, super-nerd named... wait for it... Joshua Cohen.
Its also meta- because Cohen has inserted whole tracts of the book--chapter after chapter--that reads like an unedited transcript of the recorded interviews between Joshua Cohen and Joshua Cohen, with the main body of the text the disjointed speaking voice of Joshua Cohen, whom he calls the Principal, with the occasional interjection, comment or question by Joshua Cohen [bracketed [for clarity?]] I mean: incomplete sentences, nerdy made-up slang words, improper use of
yeah, like that
Like I said, I'm not saying it stinks.
But I'm not saying that it doesn't, either.
But don't listen to me, remember, I didn't finish it.*
* this is the first book I haven't finished in as long as I can remember. Its been at least twenty years or more. I think I put Fahrenheit 451 a few years ago because it was too depressing at that point and I planned to pick it back up.I won't be giving this book another go.