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Monday, November 30, 2015

Know Your Beholder: A Novel

I have been an Adam Rapp fan for a while, and so I picked up Know Your Beholder when it came out. I am sorry to say it took me a while to finish it because I got distracted by life; that says nothing about the quality of work, which is amazing.

Francis Falbo was a rock star just a few years ago. He had a wife he adored, awesome parents, and an odd relationship with his band mates. Now he finds himself agoraphobic, holed up in his childhood home in Pollard, Illinois, serving as a landlord in his childhood home. His wife has left him for a pharmaceutical rep, his band is fractured beyond repair, and his mother passed away, causing his father to remarry and move to Florida. Now, there is a snow storm and Francis must look out for his home, which includes a couple whose child has been missing for weeks, his ex-brother-in-law and his weird visitors, an artist who draws men nude for a thesis project, and a new tenant who may be the person who saves Francis.

As I said earlier, I have been fond of Rapp's work for some time, an this book was certainly no exception. He has a sharp wit about his prose that works as an undercurrent in his writing. Francis is eccentric for sure, but he is also someone that we all understand. His heartbreak over losing his wife is something that is easy to relate to, and his refusal to leave his home is something most of us dream of. Rapp has a darkness about his writing that settles over the novel like a storm cloud. It's not just the snowstorm that adds a certain sense of foreboding; it's also the way that Rapp describes his characters and uses his sentence structure to his advantage. It's really something amazing to read.

I adored Francis, and when he meets the women who will come to affect his life, I silently cheered on the inside. While I have (obviously) never seen a picture of him, I was able to envision what he looked like and I loved his beard and his flannel pajamas. I became enraged for him when a former friend shows up and won't leave, and I wanted to shake Francis when he started wavering on his plan to get his friend out. I adored this man, and I loved reading about him so much that I just didn't want to close the cover of the book at the end of the story. It's an unconventionally happy ending, and I loved it.

For purchase below.

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