Well it seems that 2016 came and went without a single blog post here on Fiction on Fiction. It has been a rather difficult here: all our writers have left, leaving only myself. And one woman does not a blog make! Or does it? Perhaps it does.

In any case dear readers, if any of you are left, let it be known that I have been reading voraciously all year, and so I can still present you with my three worst books I read this year, that were also published this year.

Le Chat André by Lou Legrand-DiBlasio

Lou Legrand-DiBlasio has always been a bit of an enigma as a writer. He has never granted an interview, and many believe he is just a nom de plume of the great Lisithea Grande-Dimastromonaco that allows her to write more experimental works than her usual stories of women facing adversity in the Canadian wilderness. In any case, while I’ve somewhat enjoyed the audacity of Legrand-DiBlasio’s works — especially 2010’s “The Words I Use For Tablecloth” — Le Chat André was just a thematic mess! Its dust jacket claims that it is a story of love and loss from the point of view of a chat’s chew toy, but that only covers the first chapter. One wonders if no one managed to get past that first chapter — I know I had a hard time! The prose is sloppy, even for a chew toy:

I am thrown across the room, sloppy and wet, like the kisses of the humans on the bed.

But after one gets used to this odd narrative, the second chapter throws you into long descriptions of ceiling fans from no one in particular’s point of view. This may be a metaphor for life:

It goes nowhere, but faster and faster; the blades cutting air that reassembles behind it in a grotesque aerial ballet of dust mites and dead skin.

Or perhaps not?

The heaviness of the blades are by design, ensuring that they do not fall apart under the pressure of the air.

I skipped ahead to the last chapter — no, I am not proud — and found that the last chapter was a repetion of the same six words reassembled in random order in what may be a nod to Joyce? One may never know.

Dying In Love All Alone by Sloane Dawn Langsley-Barret

Possibly the most disappointing book of the year! Everyone has been anticipating a follow-up to the brilliant “Uphill On A Lonely Street At Night” for ten years now, only to get a barely coherent story of drug use, crime, and redemption set in what is supposed to be Cleveland (I have my doubts that Langsley-Barret has ever been to Cleveland!). The protagonist, Marny, is in turns written as a tragic figure and as a clown. Marny’s experience in the hospital emergency room is written as comedy, but his attempt at assembling IKEA furniture in his first apartment after rehab is written as tragedy. While many have said that this is a brave twist in storytelling, I found it tedious.

Bottle Vase by Mauro Kowalczyk

I bought this on a whim, encouraged by the clerk at the bookstore who said she found it exciting and fresh. It was neither exciting nor fresh. It was ham-handed and stale. The dialogue is stunted:

“Is that you,” said Lynn.

“No,” answered Sean.

“Then who are you,” replied Lynn.

“It’s Sean.”

“Oh,” Lynn said, helplessly, staring at the floor.

The story is pointless. It centres around three friends, Sean, Lynn, and Spence, who share an apartment in Brooklyn and discover very boring secrets about each other during a power outage. Their friendship remains intact at the end. Nothing changes in their life. This was a waste of 300 pages.

 

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