I said in July my favorite review of The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer was this one from Sweden. But I think it has to be this one by Jeff at Beervana today. It's not just that it is very positive but, rather than just getting it, he explains it a bit back to me. I won't copy out the money paragraph but consider this one:
The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer is a literary Schizopolis. The authors are two bloggers you probably know if you read Beervana much: Max Bahnson and Alan McLeod. They share a distaste for beer boosterism and, even more, dislike how that boosterism interferes with what they see as beer's true joy--the simple pleasures of drinking it and sharing it with friends. That's a heterodox view in the beer-writing world, and the form Alan and Max chose to express it is nearly as weird as Schizopolis: a fictive dialogue between the two shared in various fictive settings. Thomas Hardy gets quoted; Beckett gets alluded to (I think). There's a fragment from Alexander Pope. In one chapter, we get stage direction and a script. There are direct message exchanges and Twitter exchanges.
He is right. There are a whack of allusions throughout the thing. It was originally structured on The Compleat Angler which by Izaak Walton was first published in 1653 wherein we hear: "Come, hostess, how do you? Will you first give us a cup of your best drink, and then dress this Chub, as you dressed my last... Ah, fishing... see, the idea was to mirror the encyclopedic narrative structure Walton used to investigate the meaning of craft beer. Well, it was one of the ideas. And half ideas. See, it was written organically through emails back and forth and took off in unintended interesting directions.
And off it went, pleasantly and sometime chaotically for a number of months. I was also thinking of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, too, a jumble of a book. And so it was. Max writing this bit, me that and then each of us editing the other. A joint exploration of expression. Jeff gets it right. It was emotional. The best responses to dumb things are laced with emotion. So, it tumbles and it goes here and there and makes no sense at certain points. A few characters are jabs at people I have met in my years on earth. I am not that concerned that few have read it as many who have take a great deal of pleasure from it. It is flattering. It is odd to be flattered by making someone you will never meet enjoy something you have written. But it is flattering.
There is one thing I don't get, however. If all that is true why do people think it is badly edited? It is as it is. The Lulu edition is different again and if there is another edition it will differ still more. It may be a jumble but it is as it is.