Manhattan Loverboy – Review

 Manhattan Loverboy is the third Nersesian novel I have read. I began with what most people probably began with, The Fuck-up. After that I went through a very long Nersesian drought because I have been dirt poor and have relied on used bookstores for nearly my entire book shelves. so I waited and waited and finally came across Chinese Takeout and bought that and read it, too. In a weird way, Nersesian’s tales of disfunction and fuckups and love and sex in NY is one of the things that actually made me want to visit the city and maybe live there.  They struck me as a modern version of Go or On the Road with real people doing real things and not always with the best of consequences but still being in the moment and enjoying the trip.

Manhattan Loverboy (MLB) is more like Breat Easton Ellis through a meat grinder.  It’s quick, it’s funny and it’s obscene in all the best ways.  The lead character is lewd and takes social awkwardness to new levels while not realizing how socially awkward he actually is. The plot twists around on pins and dimes, and reads as much as a pulp noir as a social satire.

But, with all of this said, it also lacks a certain polish that The Fuck-Up and Chinese Takeout possessed.  some of the lack of polish is assuredly intentional as part of it becomes gradually stripped away as the story unfolds and the plot twists around. But it also makes somewhat irritated read at times as the style does grate on your nerves a bit.

someone with a higher threshhold for this pain would probably argue it as the writing most fully expressing how irritated the character is and they would have a point. But there’s also a bit of it that simply feels forced. It is as if you can feel Nersesian’s naturally prose like writing is under the surface somewhere and is attempting to break free and make itself known. I wonder if this novel was difficult for Nersesian to write or if it came easy – something he labored over or something that burst forth in a moment of creation. I could see either being true but I suspect the former.

But if you have enjoyed Nersesian in the past or if you like Palahniuk now, I don’t think you wouldbe disappointed with MLB. And, even if you are, it’s such a short read that it’s not that large of a sacrifice to make.  So take it off the shelf at the library and give it a night. It’ll be enjoyable.


Manhattan Loverboy Homepage

Manhattan Loverboy at Amazon

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