Saturday, November 27, 2010
Review: Introducing the Richest Family in America: a Novel
Author: David Drum
Publisher: Burning Books Press
Point of Sale: Direct
Reviewed by: Emily Veinglory
I am going to assume Burning Books Press is a micropress. Their website is a bit of a hot mess, but they seem to have multiple authors on board. I don't really remember how I came to buy this book. It may have been from an adsense ad. I know I ended up on a website specifically for the book that took payment directly, via paypal.
Halfway through the first chapter I thought I had made a terrible mistake. The first half of the book is very heavy on 'tell' and there are at least five main point-of-view characters, arguably more. I found the humor wry rather than laugh-out-laugh comedic, and some of the shit/fart/dick-based jokes wear a little thin upon repetition.
That said, this story about a scheme to move a family company's production to China has a certain ineffable charm and sheer momentum. The evil brothers-in-law, the flawed pater familia, the Chinese femme fatal, the spoiled daughters and the remaining cast of factory workers, wildlife and lawyers create a rather charming circus of a plot, culminating in a surprisingly upbeat serving of just deserts.
This novel feels a bit like it was created by an experienced writer, but inexpert novelist. There are a lot of rough edges and dodgy moments but overall "Richest Family" is over-blown, no-holds-barred fun. It is the kind of profoundly idiosyncratic story that keeps me reading self- and micro-press fiction. It has an energy and confidence that is often missing in more note-perfect commercial fiction. I also liked that the larger-than-life villain is given an avenue for redemption, which saves the story from descending into melodrama at the end.