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Publishers Weekly: "Complicated and beautiful."

Date: Aug 29 2011

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Everything Happens Today

Jesse Browner. Europa (Penguin, dist.), $15 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-60945-051-9

 

August 29, 2011

 

Following The Uncertain Hour, Browner’s latest tracks the emotional peregrinations of precocious Wes (who describes himself as a “typo” in the world’s story) the day after he drunkenly loses his virginity to Lucy, a rumored temptress at the elite private school they attend on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Lucy but Delia, a serene Buddhist senior, for whom Wes had been pining this past year. What about love? Has Wes had it wrong this whole time? As if this weren’t enough for a distraught 17-year-old, he must also contend with an as yet unwritten paper on War and Peace; a mother stricken with MS; a deadbeat dad; and a lovable little sister Wes wishes desperately to protect from the cruel world (but doubts he’ll be able to). Throughout the day, Wes attempts to make sense of his sexual transformation and is continually thwarted by the unpredictability of the world and its inhabitants. Thankfully, Browner avoids a saccharine resolution, opting instead to let Wes’s struggles work as a meditation on life, love, and disappointment. Wes learns to delight in the ambiguities of the world, a place he realizes is far more complicated and beautiful than even Tolstoy’s masterpiece could ever convey. (Oct.)