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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather

I'm about an hour post-book, and I'm still reeling and wondering what the &$/@: I just read. Holy hell, that was something. Jincy Willet's Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather is something else.

Dorcas is the spinster librarian twin of Abigail, the voluptuous town hussey. Two women who couldn't be more different, yet remain close. When In the Driver's Seat: The Abigail Mather Story is released, chronicling Abigail's relationship and subsequent murder of her husband, Dorcas sits down to read the book and correct all of the inaccurate information, chapter by chapter, before shelving the book. It is a tale of love, lust, and artistic temperaments.

Willet is an outstanding writer, and an original one to boot. I can honestly say that I've never read anything like this. She has a truly original voice that is quirky and funny without meaning to be. It's effortless in a Wes Anderson kind of way. Dorcas is an amazing character -- specific and fleshed out in the most clear way possible. She is the narrator, and even though you get to know her best, Abigail is also a very well done character and as you watch her life overtaken by Conrad Lowe, the obnoxious and controlling halfwit writer she falls in love with, you want to shout out to her to get some self esteem and knock it off. Instead, you watch her waste away and slowly crawl to to what may the inevitable ending, but really isn't. (I shall say nothing else; spoilers!)

I was left a little flabbergasted by this novel, as it's not conventional by any means. It was quite incredible, actually, and now that I've finished it I'm quite ashamed I let it sit on my shelf for five months before picking it up. It is a whirlwind of a novel, and a shockingly fast read (a full day of travel and I was done -- the last ten pages speed by like a Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo).

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