Book Review(s): Two by Jess Walter
The Zero. Brilliant. Funny. Moving. Satirical. Dark. Brian Remy, a former NYC police officer who now works (maybe) recovering documents from the buildings destroyed on 9/11, has only fragments of conscious awareness to work with. Sometimes he (and the reader) knows where he is and what he’s doing, but usually not. His memory and his sight are both compromised, not by old age, but by physical and mental trauma. And yet, the reader cares, and the story moves forward beautifully. One of the most compelling–and the darkest–books I’ve read in a long time.
The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel. An engaging first-person, present-tense account of several months in the life of Matthew Prior, a former reporter driven to behave irrationally through a combination of financial pressure, sleep deprivation, and the abuse of high-grade marijuana. Prior is a highly sympathetic protagonist and I was completely convinced and engaged as he risked home, marriage, and personal liberty. Great pacing, dialogue and humour, plus a plot that moves in unexpected directions.
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