With wry humor and wonder, Spillman beautifully captures the deadpan hedonism of the East Berliners and the city’s sense of infinite possibility, which, to his frustration, never quite imbues him with his own artistic compulsion. (One is reminded as much of Cyril Connolly’s anti-bildungsroman Enemies of Promise as Nick Hornby’s culture-besotted High Fidelity.)
He's not a stylist, but has a plain and conversational voice. I like that. The this guy/that guy chapters are short, punchy and focused, and I like that, too. They twine around each other in their motif of rambling attempts at finding and living an authentically artistic life ... if you can inoculate yourself against this engorged sense of self-importance going in — if you can transmute long passages about the importance of living like an artist into a kind of pleasant humming noise in your brain without it tripping all your rage switches — the ride is still very much worth it.
All Tomorrow’s Parties is at once a completely relatable and unique coming-of-age story ... His desire for an exciting life can be infectious, and his ultimate pursuit of it makes for an exhilarating read.