Throughout this remarkable book, what seizes the characters’ attention, and ours, often has the dissimulated air of a revelation that’s still in the midst of disclosure.
It would be oblivious to deny that Watkins in part shares her visions of sweltering badlands with writers like Joan Didion or Denis Johnson.
So you’re sitting at a café reading a new, smutty, and not particularly enlightening short-story collection by Junot Díaz.
The immediate evidence of the book’s lopsidedness does at least allow for a more satisfying reading of it as a concept novel whose ideas govern whatever characters get in the way.
To live far away from home is to be ever vigilant, ever afraid, scanning the air for signs of danger. There is an isolation bred of estrangement, a self-perpetuating loneliness.