on December 26, 2004
Starting with Smith's 'How Insensitive', which is a yummy snack of a book that I gulped down in two days, I then chased it with 'Noise', which is denser and fuller-bodied. I am so pleased to have discovered an author of Smith's wry wit, cynicism, sensuality, wickedness, masochism, and (relative) youth. I am hungry for his remaining novels and short stories. I've finally found a Canadian author that I am proud to say I admire and whose work I feel cool about recommending/lending/gifting to my close friends. It is so comforting to know that someone else outside of my circle feels the same weird way about Toronto, suburbia, and Ontario. Smith's medium is the realm of the senses, and 'Noise' makes the same allusions to the auditory that Suskind's 'Perfume' does for the olfacotry. You will find your protagonist, and yourself, in a constant yet not unenjoyable state of sensory arousal and psychological frustration and stimulation that never seems to be truly satisfied, save for brief but inconsequential intervals...much like life itself, no? Smith's constant battle between 'breeder-esque' conformity and single hipsterdom is amusing and really speaks to people who are at the stage of their lives when they are trying to figure out if they want to follow their dreams of excess and bohemia or that of predictable employment. Both Smith's 'How insensitive' and 'Noise' remind me somewhat of Wolf's 'bonfire of the vanities', but I find that Smith's dialogue and descriptions are much smoother and leave very little room for stopping - you just have to keep going, its that addictive. Bravo, Russell Smith, keep the writing coming!
on January 8, 1999
In the crowded field of new novelists trying to capture the sound and sensitivities of present 20-somethings (a generation beyond Gen-X), "Noise" stands out much as Kerouac or Richard Farina did in their time. Smith's ear for language and easy facility in slipping in and out of the au courant phrases in a spectrum of fields gives a smooth flow with few jarring linguistic display-pieces. As good a send-up of modern dining obsessions as I've read since Stuart Stevens' "Feeding Frenzy."
on December 7, 1998
Russell Smith's first novel, _How Insensitive_, rocked the Canadian literary world. It was nominated for several of the country's highest awards. _Noise_, his second book, is even better. It's a witty, hilarious look at Toronto's disaffected young urbanites. It's published by The Porcupine's Quill, a small literary press that is attracting a lot of great new writers.
on April 8, 2005
If books about disenchanted youth in the downtown core of a city centre are you bag, then this books has your name written all over it. Smith does an excellent job of capturing the blasé mood that has stricken many of the youth/young adults in today's world as they try to hold on the trappings of their youth, while being kicked into getting jobs by an economy that is hungry for new blood.
Give this novel a read. You might just surprise yourself.