Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Metrophilias by Brendan Connell


Thirty-six cities. Thirty-six stories of obsession. From ancient Thebes to present day Berlin, these little portraits of humans superimposed on their suburban environment are corroding treats thrown together in a past-modern beaker, landmark tales of love in the metropolis. A round-the-world tour of craving and decadence.


Love, addiction, infatuation, desire and obsession are indiscriminate.  

Metrophilias is a candid, sometimes disturbing, often intriguing glimpse into the human psyche.  

I didn't know what to expect going into this book.  And when I started reading the first "chapter" I was more confused than ever, wondering if all of these stories would tie in together, if there was a common theme amongst the cities and people, if there was even a plot at all.  But once I read the second chapter I realized that the best way to read this book was to assume that all of the chapters were a very short story, completely independent of all the others.  It is not a novel, at least not in the sense most people are accustomed to.

I am still deciding on whether or not "enjoyed" is a proper term for how I felt about this book.  To say that I enjoyed it assumes that I got some pleasure out of reading it.  I feel like that would be a misleading description of how I felt while reading it.  I think
a more accurate description would be that I found it fascinating, honest and brazen.  The author tackles a subject that can range from the mild and somewhat socially acceptable (a fetish for bald heads) to the extreme and taboo (necrophilia).  And he bravely and eloquently broaches that most people would hesitate to discuss, let alone write an entire collection of stories about.

Overall, I would have to say that this book has the potential to be regarded a literary masterpiece and, in my opinion, could be included in the curriculum of a college level literature course.  Despite being only 102 pages, there is so much compelling content that the stories could be discussed, and even analyzed, in depth for decades, if not centuries.

Favorite quote:
"But it's easy to call a man in love a mad man."

I gave this book 5 wine glasses based on my personal preference for the book.  That being said, it might not be for everyone.  It's gritty and disturbing yet compelling and fascinating.  While it's only 102 pages, please don't mistake this for a light read.  If you decide to pick this up, take your time.  It will be worth it.

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