Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Pets is Weird

I bought this book because Open Letter Books was having a sale. I think I found out about Open Letter through the New York Times or a reading friend. They are at the University of Rochester and publish translated works. The books are contemporary and the goal is to encourage people to read translated works. Open Letter Books has great cover designs and very good customer service so I hope they are successful.

"The Pets" is about a guy in Iceland who has just returned from a trip to England. He gets home and finds out that someone has come to see him while he was out and the person said they would come back. The person who wants to visit him is an old roommate who is a little off and was recently in a mental institution. Instead of calling the police, or shouting through the door that he doesn't want to see this person, the narrator hides under his bed. Now he is stuck. He can't come out.

Another person comes over, a fellow traveler from the plane back from England who needs to pick up his glasses. A woman from the flight comes over as well and some other various friends. They are drinking and hanging out while the narrator is still under the bed recounting the events that have brought him to this time and place.

It's an original story but strange. I never felt as though I could root for anyone in the book. I got a little tired of the guy under his bed and wanted to hang out in the kitchen with the people who were having a good time. If you asked me I would not say that you have to read this book. I would suggest that you check open Open Letter Books and try something by an author for another country. It's worth it just for something very different.

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