Katerina by James Frey
What’s it about?
Jay drops out of college to move to Paris and become a great writer. Along the way he drinks a lot, snorts a lot, and has a lot of sex with a lot of women. He meets a young model named Katerina and falls madly in love. They proceed to drink a lot, snort a lot, and have a lot of sex. The novel goes back and forth from his time in Paris in the 1990’s to present day L.A.
What did it make me think about-
So, James Frey is the infamous author who wrote “A Million Little Pieces” a few years ago. My thought was that everyone deserves a break- maybe he just got caught up and lied about his memoir. He might be a great guy. This latest book is obviously autobiographical as well, but Frey at least has learned not to label it a memoir. The main character, Jay, just comes across as an intense, full of himself, jerk. “ I was just starting to write, after many failed attempts and hundreds of pages of unreadable crap, the first book I would publish. I was focused, ambitious as fuck, still believed I could burn down the world with words, fell asleep thinking about it, woke up thinking about it, spent my days trying to make it a reality.” The truth is that my main thought while reading this book was, “ I really don’t like this guy, or this book”.
Should I read it?
From my viewpoint- James Frey seems to be trying too hard to be cool. He swings from saying he doesn't care what people think- to writing about lighting the literary world on fire. All in all- he just seems to take himself too seriously. If you are in the mood for a lot of ranting and some soft porn then this is your book. Otherwise don’t waste your time.
“ When I look at art I don’t have to consider whether the work is fiction or non fiction, whether it’s a genre painting or a literary painting, whether it’s serious or commercial, where the artist went to school or whether the publisher has prestige or not. It is what it is. Something someone made because it is inside of them, because they were compelled to make it. I want to write books in the same manner. I have words inside of me, and I am compelled to make something with them. They will be what they will be, on their own terms, books. Fuck all the rest of it”
If you like this try-
Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Open City by Teju Cole
Sweet bitter by Stephanie Danler
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― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!