Thursday, 29 December 2016

NEW YEAR’S: A PREQUEL TO THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF NATHANIEL P. by Adelle Wadman

I love THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF NATHANIEL P. I have read it two or three times and find it insightful and refreshing every time, so when the algorithm at Amazon suggested I might like the prequel, NEW YEAR’S, I was like: hell yeah, computer function. I would like that.

It’s set before LOVE AFFAIRS and is told from the perspective of Nathanial’s good friend Aurit. It’s brief, but as tart and enjoyable as the main novel. Try this man at a farmers market:
He yawned and shuffled his weight from foot to foot, looking not only bored, but aggrieved, as if being so near fresh, locally grown produce were actually painful to him, as if he were morally opposed to having any contact at all with food outside of what was served to him at a restaurant or delivered fully cooked to his apartment in a plastic bag. His posturing annoyed Aurit, struck her as an affectation, an assertion that he was less bourgeois than she and the others here and deserved some kind of medal for it. Such bullshit.

Or this description of – I suspect – many people’s mothers:
My mom is probably the better person in a lot of ways, but she is also difficult into personally – she’s sort of servile in a way that’s annoying in and of itself, but it’s especially hard to bear because she is also seething with resentment about being underappreciated.

Aurit herself is an interesting character, being one of these people who is somewhat scarred by not having been popular enough in high school. She messes up a good relationship in college by cheating with someone who she doesn’t particularly like, but whom she could never have had in high school, just to prove that she can. The main focus of this very brief story is Aurit’s relationship with Nathaniel. To me, the outcome is a little bit pat. Whereas in LOVE AFFAIRS you are never quite sure where Nathanial’s problem lies – it’s as hard to tell what’s wrong as it is in real life – here it’s all a bit more clear cut, which I did not so much admire. However, I still enjoyed it about 100% more than most books I read this year, and I hope Wadman’s busy in Brooklyn writing something new. I’m sure the algorithm will let me know when it’s done.

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