:: How good is this book? Well, I'd just moved... and found time to read it among the boxes & furniture placement. In spare, first person, translated from the French prose, Ms Roger presents a widower, Jean-Pierre, in hospital, recently fished out of the Seine. At some point in his recovery, he decides to journal this experience -- and some of his life -- which forms the novel. His present world, includes a teenage girl (also a patient) who borrows his laptop to update her Facebook page), the young policeman who brought him to the hospital, a young French rent-boy who saved his life, nurse Myriam, old friends via email, and disconnected family.
Our hero is basically a lonely old codger, now with broken bones & a broken spirit to match... and he's pretty sure he wasn't trying to kill himself. But he does not know why he fell off a bridge, into the Seine, in the middle of the night.
The journal format tracks his physical and spiritual healing. But not sweetly... one is not overwhelmed by the wonderfulness of life. No, this mish-mash of characters each have hidden lives, which frequently irritates or confuses the others. Revelations are deliberate, interesting, and not completely unexpected.
I liked it so much I was surprised & disappointed to find myself at the end. I'm almost tempted to read it in French. Thanks to Edelweiss & Pushkin Press for the opportunity to preview this ARC. *****
Sourdough by Robin Sloan :: Mr. Penumbra... made my Top 10 list that year, so I've been eagerly awaiting Sloan's next. Sourdough satisfies in a similar way. Diverse areas: robotics, food preparation & selling, bread baking, long-distance "love," restaurant wars... Lots going on, interesting characters & situations, in-depth (yet interesting) info, techie female 1st person perspective. Made me hungry, wished I could try some of the bread & soups described. Not necessarily an inferior book to his first, but because I don't cook and I do read, this one seems slightly slighter.
But I read to the end & didn't skip, so I'll say his writing was engagingly good. Please, sir, I'd like some more! Thank you for the opportunity to preview this book. ****
My friend Susan really liked it. I did not find it so. It was easy to put down and ignore. I skipped ahead to the ending, just to see where it might go, and was both happy and bothered that I did. Writing was good, characterizations so-so, timing way too long. Semi-interesting plot points. Thanks to Edelweiss & Hogarth for this review copy. **
IQ by Joe Ide :: I really enjoyed this debut novel of an LA PI. Good characterization, excellent writing & dialogue, unfamiliar situations & bad guys with bad dogs, good guys with good hearts, everyone just trying to get through their lives. IQ's love for Marcus shines through, informing his life. Will read more if a series is in the works. Or if not.
(I know IQ is a fictional character, but I would like him to get the GED or take classes. He would too. Weird, I know, but such a great character. Not flimsy, great negotiator.) ****