Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Sell

I feel like I'm getting back into the swing of reviewing books a bit (I lied. I wrote that a while ago and am now trying to catch up again with my reviews). My absence from my blog put me way behind and in my effort to catch up, I don't feel like my efforts in writing a good review were that great. It didn't help that I went through a spell of lousy books. But here we are with a string of one-star books and this book extends the string to four straight.

I looked for this book after reading the first part of this three part article in the Paris Review by Martin. From reading the article and then seeing the title of the book, I expected the book to be non-fiction but it is a novel. However, given Martin's background in the jewelry business and the fact that the story takes place in Texas where the narrator works with his brother in the jewelry business (as Martin did), it's not a stretch to make the assumption that a good portion of the story is grounded in reality.

As such, I will never buy jewelry again. I know, it's hard to imagine me without my bling, but it's just not going to happen. Insane markups, selling customers' items that are brought in for cleaning and then telling the customer they were lost when they were shipped out, forgery, outright lying. It's a pretty shady business. And what do you expect? A lot of characters have drug habits that need to be paid for. They cheat on their wives. Heck, the one brother is sleeping with the other brother's girlfriend (and is constantly frantic at being found out (pssst, the brother knows)).

This was another one of those books where I didn't care for the characters but the writing was excellent, making me read on despite the lack of a "hero". I'm not real sure that there was much of a plot to the book either. I guess there is in the sense that the narrator has good intentions. He just always chooses the shadiest path.

I liked it and recommend you check out both the book and the series of articles linked above.

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