Review of Zeroville by Steve Erickson

Abandoned at 65%. I’ll only comment on the positives and negatives I noticed listening to the audiobook version. Don’t know about the ending, but was not sufficiently engaged to finish it.

Beginning showed a quirky voice. I liked the cine-centric commentary and obsession with old film stars running through the plot. Some irony and attempt at grand themes. Kind of a stretch considering what’s actually occurring in the novel.

Plot starts to meander. I lost count of the chapters after 225. Why so many chapter breaks? Is each chapter like a frame of a short film? The main character shows increasing zombie-qualities, an inability to relate with people, borderline mental deficiencies handled for the sake of humor? Vikar is clueless, yet luck is on his side. Plenty of deus ex machina, things happening to him over and over, rather than Vikar doing anything to affect the plot.

The book is an outlet for the author’s film commentary. Includes some spoofs of popular culture nerds, druggies and other so-called outcasts. There is a nostalgic quality to the setting, but I did not find it rewarding or interesting. The prose was dry and unremarkable. No stand out descriptions. A couple laugh out loud moments, but ultimately left me empty. The unreality is more convincing in Murakami, and the aberrant behavior is better related in Bret Easton Ellis. Brautigan is funnier. Despite the excellent reviews out there, I have to rate this one based on my lack of enjoyment.

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