First off, thanks to Jason Tanamor for sending me a copy of this novel for review. I will try to be honest about it.
Anonymous is all about prisoners telling each other stories of their lives and crimes through the toilets, the drainage pipes carrying the sound to their cells. There is a conman, a scammer, an owner of a strip club, a pedophile, a stalker, a guy who has had sex with 150 women.
It's about as disgusting as it gets. Yet the brutal honesty with which this novel is told--where no shortcuts are taken, where truths are handed out casually and without a thought of a shudder--is what makes it appealing. Jason Tanamor writes with a voice that is reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk, only less rough, less sharp, so the feeling one gets when he drives home a point is more like being punched repeatedly than being stabbed once. Here we have criminals, ashamed and unashamed, going through their personal histories and yelling them down waterless toilets. Their stories are neither refined nor wholesome. But they do have a single point which sort of gives them importance, or as Unknown would put it, 'relevance': they are the people who made laws get enacted, the people who made their neighbors more vigilant, the people who made changes in other people, because they are the proof of the sicknesses of the world and good folks must be wary of them. This twisted logic, sustained all throughout the novel, is entertaining, and admittedly thought-provoking.
However, as much as I liked the things I mentioned above, I felt as if there was no real plot to the novel. Stories kept going back to the past, and there are no events to move the action forward. Also, the author's style of constructing sentences was a bit repetitive. I understand that this reflects the attitude of the characters, but still, it was increasingly tiresome. There are a few technical errors as well.
Tanamor ends Anonymous in the true spirit of Palahniuk. Because I was bored towards the end of the novel, I kind of missed it, and I was another two paragraphs in when I realized that I had been, once again, not paying enough attention. My reaction was at first an enthusiastic 'Oh!' and then as I remembered Fight Club and Choke, the degree of enthusiasm decreased and I was left with a tired, forced, 'Oh.'
Still, I gave this book three stars because it was strange, funny, and at times disgusting (make that most of the time). It's the kind of story that people think about but never really get down to telling, and the fact that Tanamor accomplished it is in equal parts reckless and brave.