Thursday, September 22, 2011

Night In the City

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist moves very fast.  I'm pretty sure it's short--hard to tell on a Kindle--but it just pounded past, very much like I imagine a late night wandering from club to club in New York might.  Actually, I would honestly find that experience a drag, but reading about people excited about music is much more exciting to me than listening to music, because I'm weird that way. 

And these kids are excited about music.  They're the most endearing music snobs you've ever read about, including Nick Hornby characters, because there's no superiority to them.  They just love what they love.  They're kids, for crying out loud.  That's hard to remember sometimes--there are a lot of sexual situations, remembered sex, implied sex, etc.  There's a lot of independence, a certain amount of experience.

But there's also a really refreshing uncertainty.  These kids are intelligent and articulate, but they're really, really confused about how they feel.  They know firmly what they want, but it does change every few minutes or so.  Nick wants his girlfriend Tris back, or barring that not to look like a passed-over loser in front of her.  Norah wants to make sure that her drunk friend Caroline gets home, to figure out what she wants from her ex Tal, and oh yeah, is she going to Brown or a kibbutz next year?  And maybe she wants Nick a little, too. 

They meet at a queercore (did you know that was a word?  I didn't) show, then go to a burlesque club, then a punk show, walk around the city, stall the car, run into exes, eat borscht.  The talk and flirt and stomp away from each other.  The point of view switches back and fort from chapter to chapter--presumably the authorship does, too, between the two writers, Rachel Cohn and Dave Levithan.  Both voices are smart and sharp, but they're firmly different, independent of each other.

Now I have to watch the movie.  I do not picture Michael Cera in the Nick role--Nick is a hot, confident guy who's feeling vulnerable because he's been dumped, not an adorable dweeb with puppy-dog eagerness.  Honestly, as much as I dislike Zac Efron because he always looks so smug (and Nick is not smug), it's his role, really.  Well, if it came out now it would be.  Norah, I can't remember the actress's name, but she's perfect--tough and vulnerable.

This isn't much of a review, I guess--the book moved very fast, things happening one tumbling over another, with occasional digressions into describing how awesome the music is.  It took me about four hours total to read.  Four really good hours--worth your time.

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