Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And Now You Can Go by Vendela Vida

(hb; 2003)

From the inside flap:

"A sharply humorous, fast-paced debut novel about the effects -- some predictable, some wildly unexpected --that an encounter at gunpoint can have on the life of a (previously) assured young woman.

"The gun in question is pointed at twenty-one-year old Ellis as she walks through a New York City park. In the end she is unrobbed and physically unharmed. But she is left psychologically reeling.

"Over the next few weeks Ellis keeps everyone at bay: the police, the men who want to save her ('the ROTC boy' poet and 'the red-faced representative of the world'), and the university therapist who hints that her sweaters may be too tight. But when Ellis accompanies her mother, a nurse, on a mission to the Philippines, she finds that life -- even if held up -- cannot be held back, and neither, finally, can she."


Vida's debut novel is not as good as her second, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. And Now has its quirky, clever moments, and starts off in a tightly-written manner, but it quickly becomes obvious that for all of this novel's slyness, this should've been a novella. Few of the scenes in that make up the middle section of the novel have anything to do with Ellis's experience with the sad gunman: they're superfluous. It's just a semi-edited ramble, albeit a charming one at times.

Skip this one, but make sure to check out Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.

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