Tuesday 20 November 2007

54. Timoleon Vieta Come Home

I fucking HATED this book. I am angry about how poor the writing is. I'm angry about how lame the story is. I'm angry that a book whose main character is written in such horribly homophobic terms can actually be published. I'm angry that the guy who recommended it to me thought it was funny (the owner of the until now adored Almost Corner Bookshop in Rome), and that all of the wanky reviewers quoted on the cover thought it was funny - there isn't one funny sentence in this piece of shit. I'm angry that I wasted 3 hours of my precious life reading the whole thing when I should have followed my inclination halfway through to shred it and toss it onto the subway tracks at Donlands Station.

Timoleon Vieta Come Home is a cynical riff on both the Lassie story and the proliferation of books about how cool it is to escape the US or England to go live in a delightful cottage in rural Italy (presumably like Under the Tuscan Sun, which I will not be reading).

In terms of the former, you will only find this book funny if you find the prospect of abandoning dogs on the side of the road to starve to death (a big problem in Italy, especially around Rome) incredibly hilarious. To make this even more belly-laugh inducing, Rhodes makes sure that after wandering for months, the dog has his throat slashed and eyes gouged out right before he makes it home.

As for the latter, having never read those stupid books about the Italian countryside, I either missed or wasn't amused by Rhodes' jokes about them. I suspect most people will miss them because if you haven't read crap like Under the Tuscan Sun you won't get the jokes and if you have read and enjoyed Under the Tuscan Sun you will be offended by how Rhodes is mocking you.

I haven't read many books in my life that have been so atrocious as to actually make me angry, so when it does happen I feel like I might go crazy. It's times like this that I understand how people can not be interested in reading books at all - because if this had been the first book I read in the formative years of my becoming a lifelong reader, I would have given up too!

Watching the Jerry Springer Show would be better than reading this book, for at least there would be some creative use of language there! Instead of going crazy or giving up on books, however, I bought myself a book by an actually funny author on the way home - Mulliner Nights by P. G. Wodehouse.

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