Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer

I never believed a book could save your life. 

A fairly strong opening statement, at least in theory. I don't like the POV switch though. Why would the narrator not believe a book could save my life? However, as this line introduces a book, I read on.

It makes sense that Conner Joyce would be the one who changed my mind about that. The story of how one book saved me while another nearly killed Conner began, appropriately enough, in a bookstore—to be more precise, at Borders in Bloomington, Indiana, where I saw a poster with Conner’s picture on it. By then, I had nearly forgotten Conner. I had figured I was done with books. 

This is preamble, discussing what the story is instead of just telling, and reads like the once upon a time style of opening. The rest of the first chapter goes into back story before ending with a short scene that sets up the next scene, which is where the story actually begins.

Nevertheless, the back story is interesting, at least from a writer's point of view and probably from a well-read reader's point of view as well. There is a discussion of reclusive writers like Salinger and Pynchon. Before long I found myself on page 50. The plot points that make this suspenseful, however, do not really start until then. So if you can manage through the first fifty pages, you will be rewarded.

First thing said:

“Who’s that person you keep staring at?”

Verdict: Pass (barely)

For me this is a 3.5 star pass for the simple reason that the novel is about writers and books. I understand though that this will not hook everyone and that this probably should, as an opening, be a fail.

Theodore Moracht

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