Little Constructions

Graywolf. Feb. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781644450130. pap. $16. F
A woman walks into a gun shop, grabs a Kalashnikov rifle, storms out, and hails a taxi. Left behind, the shop owner and his friend are shaken, but worse is yet to come. The woman, apparently on the hunt for her two-timing husband, is a member of the Doe family, a gang of miscreants and lowlifes whose crimes range from infidelity and abuse to incest and rape and who suffer from hallucinations and hypersensitivity to noise. While the Doe men resort to all manner of violence, the women seek comfort in self-help books and various forms of psychotherapy, to no particular avail. The jazzy narrative is punctuated by riffs on everything from gender differences to kitchen junk drawers.
VERDICT Readers looking for the logic of a linear plotline won’t find it here, but those who prefer their fiction edgy and their humor dark will take pleasure in the jivy rhythms of this unconventional early novel from the Booker Prize–winning Burns (Milkman).

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