Review by Booklist Review
Old Pinocchio returns to his native Venice in disgrace. Hollywood has made a travesty of his film bio, he has lost his magnum opus when his computer was stolen--hard disk, floppies, and all--and, worst of all, his human body is turning back into wood. Only the nose seems to be unchanged. Pinocchio's transformation from puppet to man and his decay back to a pile of splinters are dazzlingly captured in Coover's raunchy postmodern frolic. Beneath the surface of bawdy baroque description there lies a more substantial portrait of humanity beset by age, loneliness, lust, and illness, Pinocchio holding on to the memories of the past while being assaulted by all the cruelties the modern world can muster. Coover uncovers the terror and wicked laughter that arise in the process of becoming, being, and dying with an uncommon honesty that is tearful in more than one sense. ~--John Brosnahan
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This farcical yarn about Professor Pine nut, an American art historian whose specialty is ``the motif of the ass in Venetian paintings of the life of Christ,'' strains unsuccessfully for the kind of metaphysical chuckle found in Barthelme or Calvino, but manages only to obfuscate the simple Italian tale upon which many of the scenes are based. Returning to Venice where he was crafted as a wooden puppet before life was breathed into him--as in Carlo Collodi's classic Pinocchio --Pinenut, now a weary and cynical academic, hopes literally to complete the last chapter of his life. Despite the narrative's marvelous opening--Pinenut arrives in a Venice made more beautiful and spectral by a snowstorm--Coover indulges in the kind of pretentious posturing and glib wisecracking that one imagines would play well only at a colossally obnoxious faculty party. It is hard to believe that the once uncontainably inventive Coover ( The Origin of the Brunists ; Pricksongs and Descants ) can be content with the facile wordplay and gratuitous obliquity exhibited here. As if completing a cycle made inevitable by self-absorption, Pinenut slowly returns to a wooden form, an occasion no reader is likely to grieve. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Arms and legs askew, puppet with a nose problem and a yen to be human, Pinocchio is back, and Coover--wordsmith par excellence, sly storyteller, master maker of such fictions as Pricksongs and Des cants, The Universal Baseball Assoc., and The Public Burning --has him in his crafty, string-pulling, postmodern mitts. Poor Pinocchio, his wish granted, is an aged, much-honored scholar who returns home to complete a book on the Blue-Haired Fairy and to die: He is returning to wood. In Coover's version, anything can, and does, happen, as Pinocchio's human self relives its twig-hood adventures. Coover is at his best in this wildly comic fable. Highly recommended.-- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown Coll., Center Valley, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A postmodern tale full of all the necessary self-referential observations, yet haunted by an old-fashioned pursuit of the meaning of life, Coover's latest (Gerald's Party, A Night at the Movies, etc.) takes the Pinocchio story and gives it an ending that is both moving and satisfying. Pinocchio, now an old and respected professor and winner of two Nobel prizes, comes to Venice, where his story began, to look for the final insight that will complete his magnum opus, Mama, his great tribute to the Blue Fairy. He is also ailing, turning back into wood. and daily losing more and more of his human features. Present-day Venice is as corrupt and venal as it was in his childhood, and in his search for the Blue Fairy, who had taught him the value of goodness, he meets many of his old companions--both good and bad. It is a journey to his past, with all the old lessons having to be learned again. Pinocchio is robbed on the first night by the Cat and the Fox in disguise; is rescued by the old dog Lido, and then taken in and cossetted by his former schoolmate Eugenio. Every day is carnival, and as Eugenio takes Pinocchio daily through the debauched throngs, Pinocchio reflects on his lifetime pursuit of truth and beauty, and begins to fear not only that the search has been in vain but that he has often failed to live up to the Blue Fairy's wishes. Although betrayed again by Eugenio, Pinocchio's old puppet comrades take him in--and, dying, he finally finds the Fairy. Colorful, bawdy, and wise-cracking: a modern fairy tale in which good and bad do battle on every page and the pure in heart triumph. At times overshadowed by too much action and clever talk, the novel nonetheless remains surprisingly affecting. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.