Saturday, May 31, 2014

Andrew's Brain

Book Review

I realized at a recent trip to the library that I needed to expand my horizons. I think I have had enough historical fiction and Sherlock-inspired mysteries for awhile.

I needed to change things up. 

I needed something new. So I headed to the new releases shelves. 

This is a dangerous thing, you must realize. I don't usually come away from the new release shelves with a readable number of books.  

I get interested into too many books. And I don't have time to read them all before I run out of renewals. 

I've had to learn to restrain myself. It is a most difficult thing. 

On this particular day, I exited the library with three new books.  

I finished one, I had to take one back for lack of being able to renew it, and I am still reading one. 

Any guesses which this is?

Andrew's Brain

This is a very different kind of novel. It is a continual monologue. And I'll bet you can guess from whom.

We get learn about Andrew through this monologue of his. But don't expect a straightforward, coherent narrative. This really is about Andrew's brain, and only secondarily about his life. And I guess it is fair to say that Andrew's brain works in mysterious ways.

But I think that is the point.

This is not quite stream of consciousness. Close, but not quite. And very quickly we learn that Andrew's had a unique ability to be present for the disasters in his life. Does he cause them? You'll have to read to find out.

This is not for the straight shooting, plot building to climax with resolution, book readers.

Instead, you need to sit down with a large cup of coffee or tea (better yet, with a long weekend in front of you) and plow forward. Just keep reading. Just keep reading.

I found this a difficult book. Not because of the monologue. Because of the unbelievable nature of the events depicted. Do these sorts of things happen, all to a single person? Yes, this is fiction, but it most probably is not intended to be categorized as fantasy. It must be fantasy for all of these events to come together for a single individual.

I prefer my fantasy to be fantastical. Not unbelievable, real world events strung together.

But to each their own. I've scanned some widely recognized reviews of the book and they seem to be all over the map. Amazing, quirky, brilliant, spare, a triumph.

The imagery. Finest prose. Amazing language.

Yes, these are all fantastic. Better than well written. Outstanding writing.

The plot will leave some readers wanting something else.

I guess you will have to decide for yourself.

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