"How Did We Miss These? Part 2"
September 7, 2007
by Sylvia Brownrigg
It is hard to predict which American writers will cross over to Britain with fanfare or at least recognition, and which will remain landlocked at home. Mary Robison, gifted minimalist, called a 'genius' by more than a few of her peers, is unpublished in this country. I happened upon Why Did I Ever a few years ago, and have been giving it to friends ever since. This brilliantly funny, odd, edgy novel, about a Hollywood script doctor named Money Breton and her two troubled children, won the prestigious LA Times fiction prize, and is the kind of work that you will read, chuckling, until the person lying next to you finally demands that you explain what's so funny. Robison has a poet's deftness with language, and her strange, jewelled sentences say more than much longer novels often can about such scattered but spirited American characters.