Well, he's got a crazy side to him that's for sure!
His crazy characters made me think more than once to myself about his past, lol!
Though I didn't find it to be a "great work", it was definitely a really good first book, worth the read and interesting right from the start.
Which in itself is a major accomplishment since so many writers are boring in their intros.
It's actually pretty typical of contemporary literary short fic, so I think that a lot of the reviewers and people hating it are probably readers not familiar with the already weird genre. At least for me it's a weird and cumbersome genre, with strange rhythms and odd ways of coming to endings.
But Palo Alto drew me in with its erratic, lost teen characters, nimble prose, and threads of symbiotic emotion throughout the collection. And as short stories (of which I'm not particularly fond) go, this collection was a good read.
It has a definite cadence to it and though I think that the writer's "voice" is still very much in process of really solidifying, the actual book is cohesive and works as a unit. Overall the interesting-ness of the whole makes up for the weakness of any of the stories on their own. The violence, graphic language, and sex all play a part in the characters' experiences and motivations but it was still not pleasant reading so to speak. Though I still wouldn't call it dark; it's too apparent that the characters are in a mainly affluent suburban environment regardless of their struggles. But that doesn't invalidate the stories, just makes for the baffling nature of teenage nihilism.