Book Review of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
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Helpful Score: 1


I emerged at the end of this strange, confusing, narrative sad and frustrated about "the human condition". I really enjoyed the frequent personification of, say, weather elements or other inanimate objects that gave the sense that everything has emotions or feelings. This tool was used throughout the novel by Clarke in a most effective and humorous way to convey's Sam's perceptions about his experiences. This bazaar tale of one man's profound ability (or disability) to always make the wrong choices in any given situation clarifies that we really do create our own life and circumstances. By the end of the book and after reading the Q & A and discussion sections of the book, I felt that Brock Clarke was poking fun at me for even finishing the book. Of course, the other joke on the reader is, if one reads to the conclusion, is the hope that one holds that the ending will be a good one and not the sad, twisted, disappointing, dishonest ending that is finally reached. I really liked Sam Pulsifer in the way on likes the runt of a litter and really hoped for better for him. That he ended up in worse shape at the end than the beginning without learning much along the way was frustrating. One hopes is that he is simply a harmless oaf who hurt no one but himself. The irony is that in his career, he "invented" many of the items of plastic junk that will possibly be the eventual downfall of our earth's environment and humankind itself. So it seems, he wasn't so much of a harmless oaf after all, but a very lethal one, by "accident". Kind of like the human race itself.