James Franco should be happy today.
His collection of short stories, called “Palo Alto,” is published officially today by Scribner/Simon & Schuster. And guess what? It’s gotten pretty good reviews.
While some reviewers have taken swipes–who can’t resist taking a swing at a movie star/PhD candidate/aspiring writer?–most have concentrated on Franco’s writing and the stories themselves.
Some samples: USA Today: “Franco writes with such deep empathy and affinity that one has to wonder if he lived this life.”
New York Times Book Review: “[Franco] ends up perfectly mirroring the undulations of a teenage mind… Franco has a talent for viscerally evoking danger.”
Salon.com: “You’ll be able to pick out Franco’s influences: Raymond Carver’s tight-lipped stoicism; the sun-streaked disaffection of Less Than Zero… Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn…. Franco can be a wag when he permits himself, and he excels at dialogue.”
Vogue.com: “Delightfully coarse, riffing dialogue that hones in on subjects like race and sex, love and violence… Compelling and gutsy.”
SFWeekly.com: “[Franco] can indeed write… He shows surprising talent… Franco is working the same nihilistic territory as writers like Bret Easton Ellis or filmmakers like Larry Clark.”
Franco also got very good reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and the trade reviewers. Who didn’t like it? The San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Press, so far. (I didn’t even know the New York Press still published.)
Tomorrow night, Franco reads aloud from “Palo Alto” at the Barnes & Noble on Warren Street at 8pm. I’d say, get there early.