It’s furiously post-something and meta-wossname. The book starts with you The Reader in a bookshop buying the book. Then you get to read an opening chapter of a novel, although that’s pretty meta-post too. Then you find that the rest of the novel is missing and go back to the bookshop to replace it, and get another copy of the book and meet a girl. You strike up a conversation. You read the next chapter of the book, but this time it’s a different book. You try to find the missing bit of this second book, but end up with a different book again.
It alternates between second person (and alternate second person) narrative and opening chapters of fictional novels by fictional characters (sometimes in translation, sometimes in fake-retro-translation and sometimes recovered from a computer analysis reading machine database and so forth).
It’s about the nature of reading, and the nature of writing, and the interface between the two.
It’s pretty good, although now we all read self-published ebooks on our ipads it’s a little outdated (slicing open the signatures of your new hardback, anybody?) but that doesn’t really matter. It’s probably better to study than to read. And some of (although by no means most of) the pastiche-y opening chapters of the various books are quite entertaining.
Ghostwritten – David Mitchell. A similar patchwork of a variety of authors.
One Thousand and One/Arabian Nights. Is mentioned from time to time in the text, has a similar idea of never actually finishing anything.
Choose Your Own Adventure. Second person narrative. You have died. Go to 1.