The Festival of Earthly Delights

February 19
8:23 AM

Dear Hap:
A new position falls into the hands of one who, living, dreams. 

I think my main reason for finishing this book was my sheer disbelief about everything being so absurd, cringe-worthy and bad. Can you like a writing style but not the written story?

The Festival of Earthly Delights is called a comedic novel, which would have been plenty of reason for me to dodge it. Humor is very personal, putting down in stone that this story ‘will be funny‘ is in my mind an invite for disaster. What made it worse is that – to me – it felt like 95% of the jokes/funny situations were based on the Oh-You-Silly-Exotic-Person trope. Because the protagonist follows his girlfriend in a desperate bid to save their relationship to a fictional Asian country which only seems to exists out of backwaters, alcohol, an aggressive minority and dumb, smiling people. Even the protagonist’s crush on one of the natives doesn’t make the feeling go away: the majority of the book he only waxes on about her different looks.

Besides to the obvious trope it feels like Dojny worked hard to tick off every travel-guide-versus-reality cliché. The – clearly miserable and malfunctioning – relationship between Boyd and his girlfriend is the third pillar to prop this mess up. If I wouldn’t have had been on an air plane with a dysfunctional video system and nothing else to read, I wouldn’t have finished this.

The Festival of Earthly Delights, Matt Dojny, Dzanc Books 2012

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