Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Year in Books 2011 - Palo Alto

James Franco must be very annoying to know , good looks and a acting career that combines the blockbusters of Spiderman and also small films that garner critical acclaim and in 127 hours' case an oscar nomination. Not only that but he has had art exhibited in New York and now can add published author to his cv.

Palo Alto is a series of short stories with interconnecting characters. Tales of alienation in suburban America. The writing style is sparse and distant in a way that brings to mind the early novels of Brett Easton Ellis , especially Less Than Zero.

Although some of the characters actions do shock, which in a couple of places feels a tad over calculated , it is the banality and deadness of his characters that Franco gets over so well again drawing comparisons with Ellis. These characters though aren't the children of the mega rich and privileged, but the middle and working classes. Boredom drives them and emptiness is filled with discovering drugs sex and violence.

I am a bit of a sucker for this kind of setting and Franco's style captures the emptiness that his characters feel so well.

If you likes the novels of the American literary bratpack of Ellis , McInerney or Janowitz don't be put off by the "hollywood actor has a stab at writing" preconceptions and give it a go. I hope he follows this up with a novel soon

You can buy Palo alto here 

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