Arjun Basu, 296 pgs, ECW Press, ecwpress.com, $24.95
If you’re familiar with the cool kids of Twitter (or you’re one of them) then you might just know author and tweeter Arjun Basu. @arjunbasu has become famous something he calls “twisters.” “Twisters” are stories 140 character or less; they’re great little vignettes, both engaging and entertaining. Unfortunately this practice doesn’t translate to a 291-page novel.
Basu’s protagonist Joe, a young advertising mogul, has become bored and irritable with day-to-day life. He sets out on a journey to find himself, leaving his job and life behind to look for something greater, becoming famous on the way. The format is set up in very short sentences, much like tweets. Just when you’re investing in an interesting line or idea, it’s broken up by a series of short staccato sentences. The repetitiveness of it doesn’t engage or add much interest for the reader.
The plot suffers from the same problem. Every time a scene is visited, the reader isn’t privy to the characters or situations in any meaningful way. You’re in and out so quickly that there’s hardly time to settle in. Basu’s Twitter “twisters” certainly have a ton of charm and are crafted with skill. However, Waiting for the Man is written too much with this mentality. It’s a hard stop-and-start journey. Basu certainly has great concepts and an interesting voice, but should think about leaving the Twitterverse ideologies behind when he’s writing in a longer format. (Ryan Eastman)