Is Bandbox too light?

Scott W. Hellman at the Boston Globe wonders about the heft of Thomas Mallon’s new book Bandbox:

It may be unfair to criticize a light novel for its lightness. Indeed, Mallon, who spins this story marvelously, deserves credit for making it a story only, avoiding any overriding morals or meaningful conclusions. And yet some readers of “Bandbox” will feel as if they just closed a speakeasy: When the music ends and the drinks stop coming, what’s left is just empty, lonely night.

But he gives Mallon credit:

What helps redeem “Bandbox” is that it works as more than a historical novel — it’s modern satire, too. Mallon imbues the book with his own experience in the magazine industry, so his careful reconstruction of the Roaring Twenties is instantly familiar in today’s media climate: rival editors sniping at each other like children from Manhattan high-rises; flesh-obsessed publications outdueling each other for busty models; reviews of late consumer gadgets.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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1 Comment

  • As it seems you write and collect or bring together, how does one find a writer for a story that may be more fiction than fact; or that should be written as fiction even if it is fact? A historical story that needs to be linked by someone good at history, like Mallon; able to tell it as it might have been.