Doom 94, by Jānis Joņevs

Second paragraph of third chapter (English text only):

I did well in school, except for physical education. In short, I was a nerd.

This came up in my previous survey of well-known books set in each European country as the top book on Goodreads set in Latvia by a Latvian writer. It’s about the youth culture of the immediate post-Communist years, with the 14-year-old narrator mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, enduring school, failing to comprehend girls, and diving into the heavy metal music and light crime scenes. An afterword set sixteen years later looks at what happened to everyone. It was one of the 2014 winners of the European Union Prize for Literature.

To be honest, I was not blown away; it’s not as bad as Catcher in the Rye, but there is a limit to my tolerance for grumpy adolescent male narrators. Bechdel fail also, due to tight first-person narrative. You can get it here.

This was the non-genre book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next on that pile is Collected Plays and Teleplays, by Flann O’Brien, but I’m holding it until I have cleared my 2018 and 2019 backlogs.

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