Exciting Books, $12.79
Contemporary Fiction, 2007
It is hard not to have come across at least a single mention of either Will Entrekin or his self-published debut Entrekin. For a while I have my doubts about whether I will enjoy Mr Entrekin’s debut since he seems to lean towards a more self-indulgent literary style of writing if the reviews of that book are anything to go by and I don’t enjoy that kind of writing. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a lowbrow genre-reading member of the hoi polloi. Besides, this one has poetry as well as short stories and I’m sure you know by now how I just don’t do poetry.
Having finished it, I can report that the reading experience is… well, it’s as if I’m in a bar, doing nothing in particular until this young man comes up to sit next to me. He has this “look at me, I’m a writer, I’m inspiring” vibe about him. I find myself thinking that this is probably going to be another one of those self-indulgent pretentious art school types that I had developed an allergy to during my days at the university. I’m trying to think of a way to turn down this fellow’s inevitable brand of “I’m a creative guru, wanna be my groupie and come worship my brilliance?” pick-up line when he starts talking. Dear me, for the life of me I find myself paying close attention to him even when half the time I have no interest in the things he’s yammering about, because there is something about him that holds my attention.
That fellow is like this book. Mr Entrekin starts off with stories all about his love life with girls – beautiful girls, exotic girls, girls as tall as supermodels, girls who break his sensitive artistic heart (those heartless bitches), foreign exchange students who give out and then begin a post-coital intellectual discourse on the meaning of orgasm… No, I’m not kidding about that discussion part. This book is that deep, even the sex is profound. Ah, to be that young again. Later he will discuss other things in form of prose or poetry, but the subject matter is always him.
The subject matter is not interesting to me, sorry, but Mr Entrekin’s prose is. He can make an account of his sperm donation and the process involved a most engaging one to read because he has this way that I am hard-pressed to define in words, which reels me into the story and holds my attention. If his prose is a person, I’ll call that person charismatic. Am I making sense here? Some of the stories here are more clearly fictitious, such as Addicted to Praise where the author Mary Sues himself into the protagonist’s shoes as the protagonist is taken aback by and laments the passing of Edgar Allen Poe in October 7, 1949. But like many of the other stories, there are many elements in these more obviously fictitious stories that seem to be autobiographical in nature. I won’t be surprised if Edgar Allen Poe is Mr Entrekin’s favorite author. After all, this book isn’t going be titled after the author if it isn’t going to be all about him.
Entrekin is one of those collections that will either delight you or make you roll up your eyes, I suspect. This one is a collection of self-indulgent and even self-absorbed writings by a young man (using the information provided here, Mr Entrekin is 30 at the time of writing). Maybe Mr Entrekin is writing for a later generation of which I do not belong to, because I personally find this exercise in self-indulgent writing not to my liking. I’ve grown too cynical over the years to muster the patience needed to bear with anyone who wants me to stop and listen to him discuss and analyze his own feelings down to the minutiae, I’m afraid, although I confess that I will probably remember that sperm donor tale for the subject matter alone. It is a good thing that Mr Entrekin has an engaging and deceptively casual writing style that arrests me, because otherwise I doubt I can bring myself to finish reading this collection.