We gave it a C+
In his seventh novel, What A Book!, country singer-songwriter Hall uses a bizarre dual-protagonist, story-within-a-story device, nattering on about the wackiness of his own life while alternately describing the surreal antics of his fictional hero, Bubba Hernandez. A cross between a memoir and a parable, the book never works. Yet throughout, Hall displays the same talent for crazy-quilt satire that shows up in his classic songs, going after everything from TV news to thieving preachers to romance novels. Unfortunately, these comical asides (”When [Johnny Cash] goes to his house in Jamaica…he takes lots and lots of neat clothes to give away. Half the men in Montego Bay are dressed in black”) are far more interesting than his zany but incomprehensible plot. What a missed opportunity!