Top critical review
Reads like a first novel...
on November 21, 2003
"And Now You Can Go" is a novel that seemed to have been written in the same style that so many other first novelists select. The usage of first person narrative guiding us through an assortment of experienced events informed by a place or life changing experience. It's a story of a woman's life after being attacked by a stranger and how the effects of this event color all of her thoughts and interactions thereafter.
I found Vida to be a skilled wordsmith, with beautiful phrasing, and a quirky way of expressing Ellis' feelings and reflections. However, I felt that the reliance on her ability with words left a bit to be desired. I was left deeply in want of more story, and since I felt that most of the characters were topical, I was also left wanting to care more about these people.
Some of Bret Easton Ellis' writing comes to mind when thinking of this book, as does Michael Chabon's "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" - I was reminded of the moodiness of these works and the novel moves in a similar way but unlike these other works, she didn't seem to be aiming at depicting the emptiness of youth or the memory of it - she rather seemed to want to give us insight into her protagonist. However, Vida's novel needed a more cohesive story to do so.
I certainly didn't hate it, and think this woman shows much promise. She certainly has the words behind her, but I'll look forward to when she gets more comfortable in her skin, and fleshes out a story more. I was left wondering if this was a novel borne of a short story - as many first novels seem to, it seemed to exist in that middle place - ultimately, I wanted Vida to be braver in the writing choices that she made, there seemed a bit of hesitance in her writing.