Monday, January 14, 2008
Maynard & Jennica by Rudolph Delson
What an odd little birdie, this one. Two very odd people come together in an unlikely way and the result is a sweet but strange love story. Maynard is a man out of time; he dresses like a dandy from the 30's, straw boater and all, with very esoteric tastes and a background as a failed pianist and failed film maker (he reminds me of who Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close's Oskar Schell from might grow up to become if Oskar weren't so cool). Jennica is obsessed with getting to the next part of her life while determinedly overlooking her life in the present. The story is told by about 30 different people: Maynard & Jennica, obviously, but also friends, colleagues, subway thugs, even a macaw. It's charming but I think it also verges on being a bit precious, esp. as we get to the post-9/11 point where the story meanders and finishes. There are a number of admirable things to be said for M & J, but it also gets dangerously close to a "gosh, aren't I clever"-ness that stopped me short of really enjoying it. I think Delson's got the goods and I hope this admirable debut is a sign of even better work to come.