Lapham Rising by Roger Rosenblatt

I  laughed out loud for about the first 50 pages of this book; then it got old.  Harry March (the narrator) is a recluse living on a tiny island in The Hamptons and trying to remain anchored to a simple life and home.  But since he’s in The Hamptons where no one lives simply, he rants about Lapham, his neighbor, who’s building a monstrously large house nearby.  Harry is pretty funny in his conversations with the Mexican construction workers that he befriends and with his talking dog who is the voice of reason.  This story–a witty satire on the rich and pretentious with their superficial and trivial lifestyle–is hilarous, but only for a while.  After those first 50 pages, I got the point.  Rosenblatt is an essayist, and a good one.  The book felt like it should be a long essay, not a novel.  For a limited time, the humor works, but once it gets repetitive, I skimmed to the end to find out what he actually did to the house he was plotting against.  So feel free to skim to the end–you don’t miss a whole lot in between.  (fiction)

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