Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Teeth

Teeth Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If Andrew Smith wrote a story about merpeople, it'd probably be a little something like Hannah Moskowitz's Teeth. This book is a bite-sized piece of modern Gothic magical-realist surrealist weirdness, so literary it hurts. Parallels to The Metamorphosis, in particular, run wild - and take note that I LOATHED The Metamorphosis when I had to read that book in high school, because it was so relentlessly downbeat and impenetrable. Moskowitz's book isn't so impenetrable, but it does carry strong undercurrents of literati pretension in how obsessively character-oriented it is at the expense of a meaningful plot. That's not to say that there isn't a plot - it's just that that plot has a way of hiding behind layers upon layers of repetitive narration and dialogue (basically about 25% of the book is carpet F-bombage, and another 25% is waxing poetic about the book's titular disfigured mer-dude), grimdark stories about fish rape, and characters that, try as I might, I can't care about them as much as I should. Really, about the only things I appreciated were the bonding moments between Rudy and Dylan (I'm always a sucker for brother stories), and also Rudy discovering that his sexuality extends beyond hetero as he connects more and more with Teeth (hence my earlier Andrew Smith comparison.) Unfortunately, aside from all of that, I felt unable to connect with this story in any way. As a first impression of Moskowitz's work for me, I'm sorry to say this is a poor one, and because I picked this one first specifically because it was the most "genre" (and, theoretically, the most in my wheelhouse), I'm pretty reluctant to try any of her other books.

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