I really, really wanted to like this book-- especially since it's written by an author who I've been wanting to check out for a while (he wrote HAIRSTYLES OF THE DAMNED, which is high on my list because it's about punk culture, which I think is really cool). BOOK OF EXTRAORDINARY TRAGEDIES, on the other hand, is about an Eastern European family cursed with extraordinary bad luck. The hero, Aleks, and his sister, Isobel, are ex-child prodigies whose bright futures ended up tarnished and crumbling into nothing. Now, as young adults, they are all washed-out and struggle through existence.
As other readers have pointed out, this is a very depressing book. There's a Canadian author I can't remember right now, but she wrote a book about two young adults who are big fish in the little pond of their Quebecois city, children of a famous regional athlete?? And that's, like, their only claim to fame. And it's all about how they've just kind of peaked young, but told in an earnestly fatalist voice. That's how this book reads, too. There's nothing objectively wrong with it, but that's either the sort of story that you're into or you're not. I was not into it. I tried.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars