“That one is ridiculed by its fellow-birds for its stupidity”
October 25, 2015 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Anybody who hasn't read The Wallcreeper, READ IT. Tiffany is a completely glorious antihero: she's unabashedly self-oriented, kind of feckless, and able to narrate her own life with the detachment of someone who's just along for the ride, and she spends very little time wondering if she's doing the prudent thing and approximately zero time wondering if she's doing the right thing. Novels tend to be about people who think a lot about things before they do them, maybe because novelists are usually that kind of person, and Tiffany just . . . doesn't, even though she's perfectly capable of (hilariously) dissecting the consequences afterward. I'm not surprised that Franzen loved the book, considering that it's narrated by, basically, an incredibly intelligent human bird.

I picked off the library shelf in total ignorance because it had an unusual shape and book jacket, read a few sentences, and was instantly fascinated. That never happens.
posted by ostro at 4:58 PM on October 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

That description ("Novels tend to be about people who think a lot about things before they do them, maybe because novelists are usually that kind of person, and Tiffany just . . . doesn't") is a good description of the characters in Mislaid, as well, and the headlong comic quality it offers feels fresh. My issue with Mislaid was that I'm not sure there's much there beyond that manic unusual quality.

For me, Mislaid felt similar to the profile. At first, you're like, " wow, this lady is crazy!" And then after a while you're like, "oh maybe this lady is kind of ... broken."
posted by vunder at 5:14 PM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sounds fantastic!
posted by grobstein at 5:23 PM on October 25, 2015

I don't really like the New Yorker piece, but The Wallcreeper is fantastic. Mislaid feels like it was an exercise in trying to write a novel that would be published by a big American publisher. It doesn't have the immediacy of The Wallcreeper, which is probably the better book. But I'm very much looking forward to whatever she does next.

Her review of Purity is really nice (though it hasn't convinced me that it's worth reading).
posted by with hidden noise at 6:38 PM on October 25, 2015

Wow, she sounds amazing. By the time fanfare/books is really rolling we should have a critical mass if anyone wants to read one of her books together.
posted by latkes at 7:07 PM on October 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm still thinking about Mislaid and I've decided I'm going to read Wallcreeper before I fully form a view about either book. Mislaid on first reading was perceptive, smart and often funny (and just as often mean/funny). Unfortunately, it was also somehow too clever-- like watching someone doing a riff at a cocktail party. idk.

I like her, though-- at least the 'her' which is visible through all the literary hoopla.
posted by frumiousb at 9:32 PM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I couldn't do bricklaying for 4 weeks and she did it for 4 years? People, if you're unfamiliar with the task, it is the kind of job where you pray that it is lunchtime, look at your watch, and collapse inwardly when it says 9:17 am.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:45 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

She repeatedly described American readers as “quitting at page 4,” and expressed surprise that the critic who had travelled to Germany to meet her had read “Mislaid” to the end.

I understand so much better now why she and Franzen became fast friends! It seems they both have a wonderful talent for uninformed, self-aggrandizing opinions of the masses.

It's a pity that I read this interview, because I loved Mislaid. When will I learn my lesson, and start actively shunning information about the personal lives of writers whose work I have adored?
posted by mylittlepoppet at 11:10 AM on October 26, 2015

I have been to Bad Belzig.
It's actually a really nice little town, just east of not really anywhere. Great hospital (my kid got eight stitches in his head - swing-set accident - and it took twenty minutes and cost 30euro. ) Which is to say, if you're gonna hide out in/ retire to the hinterlands, this is a pretty good place to do it.

Look, I think the assumption that she's 'broken' is a ... curious one at best. I don't know what you base this assumption on but I think we might not agree. Also I don't know her personally, maybe you do
posted by From Bklyn at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2015

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