Some books don’t need trailers. (All right, maybe all books don’t need trailers, but they seem to be here to stay, so let’s move on.) Case in point: Aleksander Hemon’s The Lazarus Project, a finalist for both National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. What’s it about? Well, just watch the trailer!
All done? Okay, let me guess–you have no freaking clue. In fact, you’re not even convinced it’s a book. You need to trust me on the latter, but on the former, I couldn’t agree more. With its repetitive pattern of excerpts and photographs, it’s sort of pretty but does its source very few favors. There’s no inkling of characters, no hint of a plot, and, again, nothing that says, “Hey, I’m a book, not that movie by the same name starring that dude from Fast & Furious.”
What it does, with its beautifully deranged music, is create a mood. But it’s a mood not especially suited to web videos, and it commits the gravest of all web-video sins: about three minutes in, right when you hear it winding down, it starts all over again. That clicking sound you hear is everyone closing their browser tab.
You know what does make me want to read it? Donna Seaman’s awesome review:
Hemon, a gloves-off heir to Nabokov, riffs audaciously on the biblical Lazarus, venomously condemns gangsterdom, and praises those who hold on to their humanity in the maelstrom of genocide. Charged with fury and empathy, Hemon’s sentences seethe and hiss, their dangerous beauty matched by Velibor Bozovic’s eloquent black-and-white photographs, creating an excoriating novel of rare moral clarity.
Verdict: Nope. Putting the “good lines” to music isn’t enough. Thankfully, the book has that other thing going for it–you know, UNBELIEVABLE WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM.