Ben Lerner || 10:04

Not an awful lot happens in 10:04. Its main character describes the period in between two heavy gales that threatened New York and its surroundings  (one causing deaths and total black out in Lower Manhattan). In this period he is informed that he has a serious heart condition that might prove fatal, he lands a contract for a new book with a publisher and is told by his best friend that – by lack of a steady partner – she wants to have his child. In between he visits openings at galleries, stays at a resort for writers, coaches a young boy and meets all kinds of creative people. Lerner toys with his reading public by changing his point of view: he is the writer, he is the writer he writes about and he addresses his audience. The world he paints is known to us, through several movies, series and reality tv. It is the world of the more or less privileged and creative New Yorker living in his ivory tower; it is fortunately not the world of the neurotic New Yorker. Lerner manages not to turn into Woody Allen when he describes his heart condition. I especially enjoyed the moments Lerner forgot about himself and just wrote. He can really write beautiful prose. In the last pages, in which he describes walking from Upper Manhatten to Brooklyn through black-outed Lower Manhattan, Lerner shows his talent and paints a beautiful picture of his city. In the real world Lerner is a teacher and this he cannot (or will not) hide. I felt that I was supposed to learn at least one new word every page and was offered facts and discussions on literature, art and philosophy. I noticed that I started to get irritated when teacher Lerner was in control and loved the novel when author Lerner took over. 10:04 is an amusing novel about a small group of New Yorkers by an author who can write convincingly.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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