I am also cheering against The Year of the Flood. My antipathy towards the work is not based on my having suffered through it and found it wanting. Rather, The Mookse and the Gripes suffered through it and found it wanting. I always enjoy his reviews and he was very convincing. In fact, a part of me wants to preserve the view of the book I have based on this review. I don’t want to spoil the deliciously negative feelings I now have toward The Year of the Flood by reading the thing and, possibly, having my own, different emotional reaction.
So, The Year of the Flood loses to anything. Big Machine is not just anything though. It reminded me of [(in fixing the “off” typo, I realize these books did not really have any unholy offspring of which I could be reminded, but I leave the clumsy sentence anyway – ed)]the unholy offspring of Lark and Termite (which should have made it into the contest) and Chronic City (which should have made it into the contest). The writing is reminiscent of Lethem’s, though not quite as crisp or as ornate, but the tone is similar and LaValle turns some good sentences. Lark and Termite provides the supernatural twist and the turning of a great setup into a somewhat failed ending. But, the 2010 TOB seems to be full of good beginnings paired with subpar endings, so I cannot really hold that against Big Machine.
Big Machine advances in my bracket; I hope it does in the real thing because LaValle deserves the win.