Reviews in 200 Words

Four For a Quarter by Michael Martone

In Fiction, Nonfiction on October 11, 2011 at 1:31 am

This is like a Magic Eye poster. Squint or stand back and suddenly you’re blown away (like candles on a cake). Everything fits like a puzzle, with pieces you didn’t know existed. Martone is like a wizard of language. Maybe wizard is the wrong word: it seems offensive; fortune-teller of language? At least that has a “for” in it. It’s like a 7 (or even a 4)-layer dip. It’s like a club sandwich. It’s like a wedding cake. You just can’t believe that it’s so perfectly stacked. But these are more than riddles: they’re more than, “how many 4’s can I fit into this thing?” It’s as tight as Shakespeare’s drama. You won’t get annoyed with 4’s, you’ll realize that, “Holy (four-letter-word), fours really are all around us.” You’ll realize, life is sometimes sad. The world works in a way that has us skipping along not noticing 4’s or anything else. But then something sticks, like the day you broke up–stuck like a photo-booth photo. This is a list that explains everything: the whole history of writing, language, life, loss, an awful lot about nuts, and Susans. It says “Literature/Fiction” on the back of this book, but it’s pretty packed with truth.

-Micah Ling

  1. Great review! I read this in your voice. Best, Abby

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