“Look sharp now, killer; prove what you can do.”
Official Synopsis from Goodreads
Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere. Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.
GENRE: Poetry FORMAT: Paperback PUBLICATION DATE: October 10th 2017 GET A COPY: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Mr. Either/Or is a novel in verse, which means it is written the way poetry books are written. It looks like this:
I was kind of baffled and a bit intimidated when I first opened this book because I have neither seen nor read a novel in verse before. At first, I thought it was similar to other poetry books out there. I thought I could pick which poems to read first but then I realized it is meant to be read from the start since it’s, well, a novel. It tells a story and it doesn’t simply talk about feelings.
In all honesty, I didn’t understand the story this book is ought to tell. It is very easy to read, yes– I even finished reading this in two sittings (one if I didn’t start it at night). Yesterday, as I was reading the first few pages, I almost stopped and decided to mark this as DNF, or Did Not Finish, on Goodreads but I still went on reading everything, hoping to get something from it. To be fair, I did like some painfully honest and brutal understandable individual classy sentences about religion, existence, and romance even though I didn’t comprehend the whole thing. (I will add some of my favorites later in this post.)
Maybe this book is not for me but I think Mr. Poochigian’s writing is impressive and can easily stand out in the genre he has chosen that is poetry. He has a voice; a distinct one even. The parts I did understand have proven this. I love his tiny slams about reality (even though this book is far from it) and the emotions glued to his sentences that I often feel but can’t find the words to.
For now, I will not rate this book because I am planning to reread it and update this review and see if my opinion would remain the same or not. I usually don’t do this but I can see the potential in this book that’s why I’m giving it a second chance. Not all books deserve that. 🙂
Note: I would like to thank the author, Aaron Poochigian, for sending me a paperback copy of his novel. This did not affect my review in any way.
- Why fight? he thought, why live when all mankind is unappreciative and vulgar?
- You are the man, but not quite everything that happens in this world belongs to you.
- Her profession is husband, lover, habit, and obsession, and there are too few hours in a day.
- Someone deserves the guillotine, but who?
- She’s still got guts and growls in greeting, “Come out, cowards.”
- I must ask you: can you men breathe fire? Can you laugh at death and doubt?
- Even her behind looks bossy. Blink, and she’d make your life a lecture hall, her friends exams.
- Next comes… nothing.
- You reach out, try to normalize relations.
- … and you are left there, stung but still alive, insisting, no, no, you are not a failure, you’re gonna get the box back, gonna kill those guys.
Have you guys read a novel in verse before? How’s the experience? Let me know in the comments section below.
AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009, and his translation of Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonauts was released October 2014. For his work in translation he was awarded a 2010-2011 Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book of original poetry, The Cosmic Purr (Able Muse Press), was published in 2012 and, winner of the 2016 Able Muse Poetry Prize, his second book Manhattanite will be out in the Fall of 2017. His thriller in verse, Mr. Either/Or, will be released by Etruscan Press in Fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such journals as The Guardian, POETRY and The Times Literary Supplement (Rathore, 2017).