Monday, June 06, 2016


I really want to write a post about Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, but it's turning into a huge post involving a bunch of other books, so you're going to have to wait.  Meanwhile I've mostly drifted a bit from all the amazing books I'm reading (The Raven Boys and On the Edge of Gone) because I've been sucked in completely by Lisa Lutz's The Passenger.

I don't need to wait till I'm done with that book to talk about it, because whether or not it's great literature (it's not), I cannot. Stop. Reading it. I think that says all you need to know.  It's a book about a woman on the run--Tanya, who soon becomes Amelia, who soon becomes...well, it's complicated.  And so on.

We're not talking super-talented spies here--we're talking about the best you could do if you walked out of your house tomorrow with a suitcase and some handy cash and tried to disappear.  There's a small amount of planning, and she's not a bad pickpocket, but that's about it.  Going from place to place, drinking, motels, meeting people and maybe trying to find--what? 

Well, when she hooks up with another troubled woman, things get more interesting, and distinctly more complicated.  Tanya/Amelia/our narrator is pretty much the passenger in her life--drifting along and trying to keep out of trouble.  It's kind of a how-to on half-assedly (well, maybe three-quarter-assedly) going on the lam. I love how-to novels.

There's also the central question of what sent her off in the first place.  Tanya's husband dies by accident on the first page, but the reason she runs is that she's run before, and she knows she can't explain herself in even the most cursory investigation.  But what's in her past that she's running from?  This is a gimmick I usually hate--where the Big Reveal is a story that everyone in the book already knows but is kept from us by the narrator.  But it does a good job of building tension here, because it doesn't really matter to the story.  It's an interesting tidbit, but it has little to do with whatever's trouble she's in right now. 

I got this book from Netgalley and I'm so glad I did.  And I'm reminded of another Netgalley book I haven't reviewed yet, Playing Dead, by Elizabeth Greenwood, a nonfiction exploration of the art of faking one's own death.  Tanya/Amelia/our narrator needs a copy of this; I'd better read that next to brush up in case I have to bug out.

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