so say the waiters, by justin sirois

so say the waiters

this week’s review is of a book by justin sirois, who collaborated with the subject of last week’s review, sam pink, on a recent “bundle” by publishing platform, tomely.

let me start by saying that the premise of sirois’ book (which, i hate to say, is not really a straightforward novel but rather a collection of “episodes”) is phenomenal, fantastic, and other positive adjectives.

it goes a little something like this: there’s a guy called henry. he’s a loser. then he’s hired to work for a company that makes an explosively popular app, but henry continues to be a loser by failing in his new job. however, the app is the interesting part. it’s called “kidnApp” and like many apps that exist in reality, it’s creepy as fuck. the creepy part of this app is that instead of allowing people to hook up or stalk each other, they engage in mutual kidnapping (or “kidnApping”).

great idea, right?


the book starts with an online conversation and soon moves into craigslist postings, and i thought, “oh no, another tao lin imitator.” but soon sirois is handling more straightforward, traditional prose with ease. his own voice comes through as he deftly tells his story. he is, as it turns out, a wonderful writer.

he is not, i feel, alt lit, but he is definitely a writer of his times. he feels to me like chuck palanhiuk sometimes, and even hemingway in his sparsity of language. i enjoy that each page is broken by dialog, rather than endless reams of thoughts and observations. the book is long but to the point. not a word wasted, more or less.

(added afterthought: a lot of amazon reviewers seem to dwell on sirois being from baltimore and “capturing” baltimore’s culture or whatever. i’ve never been there but this didn’t remind me of the wire. it did, however, bring me to a place i’ve never been, and that’s the mark of a solid author.)


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