Books Lunch Date: The James Boys
posted by September 3 at 12:00 PMon
(A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)
Who’s your date today? For a change, I closed my eyes and picked a book from our bookshelves at random. I wound up with The James Boys by Richard Liebmann-Smith
Where’d you go? Chaco Canyon Cafe, a vegan cafe in the U District.
What’d you eat? A vegan ruben sandwich with a cup of chili ($9.95).
How was the food? I like eating vegan food every now and againóI’m actually fond of field roast, whatever the fuck that isóbut Chaco Canyon needs to get a new vegan cheese, because their current vegan cheese tastes like vomit. Once I pulled the offending yellow triangles off, everything was great: the sauerkraut wasn’t too wet, the bread was great. The chili was more like a bean soup, but it was pretty good, too. I can totally see myself returning for a sandwich with no cheese and one of their soups, which I’m pretty sure are made fresh onsite every day.
What does your date say about itself? Kirkus Reviews says that this is “a debut novel that imagines two sets of real-life James brothers, novelist Henry and psychologist William, and desperadoes Frank and Jesse, are related…”
Is there a representative quote? “In his later years, after the turn of the century, James would be widely revered as “The Master,” with an imposing ouvre comprising dozens of novels, scores of novellas, and hundreds of short stories. But in that centennial summer of 1976, all of this was far ahead of him and by no means assured as his destiny. He was still in the thrall of what he once called “the hungry futurity of youth,” and we can only imagine the maelstrom of emotion generated by the fledgling author’s realization that this lovely woman was in fact perusing his very own words.”
Will you two end up in bed together? Nope. I like Henry James, but I’m not one of those people who thinks he’s the be-all end-all. And the writing in this book has flashes of greatness, but it’s full of book report-style exposition like in the above quote. I’ll pay attention to Richard Liebmann-Smith’s next book to be sure, but this one left me cold.