Ken Kalfus - A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

A Disorder Peculiar to the Country - Ken Kalfus

Sometimes you think “This will be a good book”, and you get quite excited. And then you read it, and it turns out it is not a good book after all. And such is life.

“Disorder Peculiar to the Country” has all the ingredients – 9/11, New York setting and a couple going through a bitter divorce. Somehow, however, these ingredients don’t seem to blend at all. It seems like Kalfus has thrown all the popular subjects at the time – 9/11 World Trade Center, anthrax, Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden here and there without thinking much. So we have a story that really doesn’t go anywhere about two people who hate each other and then we have random bits of modern history every few paragraphs. It goes like this:

Joyce came home and took a shower. Then she read a newspaper. In the newspaper it said that the US sent their troops to Afghanistan [here insert more details about the invasion:]. And then the book goes back to the “story”. I really don’t know what Kalfus was trying to do here apart from including some hot topics that might help sell the book. I understand he somehow wanted to show parallels between the state of the country and the state of its people but they just seemed extremely forced and artificial.
Towards the end you can feel Kalfus is getting tired with his own novel (or maybe his deadline was approaching?) and he just writes whatever nonsense to wrap it up.

I will top off this review with a quote from "A Disorder Peculiar to the Country". (first class narration, I swear).

“Pimples spilled across his chin, neck and forehead, little red and white spots in secret designs that told the story of what he was thinking if only you knew how to read them”. Seriously, wtf?

I give it 2 stars because my one star rating is reserved for books that are so appalling I am actually amazed. They are as hard to find as the 5 star ones.