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180 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2008
Every critic was at first skeptical of this epistolary "gimmick novel" about a self-pitying, if lovable, loser, but by the end, all agreed that "the concept works beautifully" (Los Angeles Times). Miles's effort produced an intelligent, playful, and, above all, moving story full of humor and well-written digressions. Bennie is a remarkably flawed but sympathetic man, and though his hilarious asides may not always advance the storyline, they certainly contribute to the fun. The only point of contention among the critics was the Polish novel-within-a-novel, praised by the New York Times but panned by the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times as ineffective and unnecessary. Short enough to read during a lengthy layover, this affecting and laugh-out-loud-funny tirade should stay with readers long after they've reached their final destinations.
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.