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Bottle Grove Reviews

Bottle Grove by Daniel Handler

Bottle Grove: A Novel

Daniel Handler

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication date: 28 Nov 2019
ISBN: 9781632864277

This is a story about two marriages. Or is it? It begins with a wedding, held in the small San Francisco forest of Bottle Grove--bestowed by a wealthy patron for the public good, back when people did such things. Here is a cross section of lives, a stretch of urban green where ritzy guests, lustful teenagers, drunken revelers, and forest creatures all wait for the sun to go down. The girl in the corner slugging vodka from a cough-syrup bottle is Padgett--she's keeping something secreted in the woods. The couple at the altar are the Nickels--the bride is emphatic about changing her name, as there is plenty about her old life she is ready to forget.

2 stars out of 5
Stephanie Cross
21 Nov 2019

"The overall effect is of being in the unpleasantly insistent confidences of someone who, erroneously, fancies himself a tremendously slick yarn-spinner."

This is, to say the least, a misjudged affair — a tale of two couples set in early tech-boom San Francisco that isn’t the satire of greed or sexy examination of animalistic desire it imagines itself to be, and whose characters’ frequently sozzled states are no more confused than the narrative itself. The overall effect is of being in the unpleasantly insistent confidences of someone who, erroneously, fancies himself a tremendously slick yarn-spinner.

And don’t get me started on Handler’s not infrequently nonsensical wordplay, which is at once smugly preening and constipated.

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