BETTER is a work that constantly begs readers to question the relationship between its title and its content. Is the main character, William, a sometimes struggling, often times self-content alcoholic, living carefree in his friend Double Felix’s bachelor pad trying to get better? Or are we meant to wonder what could be better than living for free in a luxuriant, stripper stocked east L.A. palace over looking the Pacific Ocean? While Double Felix’s past and source of income haunt William, John O’brien’s unique narrative style, articulate and prose-poetic, captures the impulses of human cognitive thought.
From p. 61 of BETTER:
John O’brien’s knowledge of the landscape will stand up to any native of Los Angeles. BETTER is very much a novel of overcoming vice and power, two elements found just as easily as the sand on its beaches. Anyone familiar with unwavering glimmer of Southern California’s coastal region will recognize not just the back drop for the story, but a third character, complete with its own nuances and subterfuge providing the perfect context to William and Double Felix’s drunken ordeals.
This blog post is guest-written by Akashic Books intern Daniel Bindschedler