Thoughts by Jess Walter, Harper Audio 2006, 10 hours 40 minutes
Narrated by Christopher Graybill
Challenge: What’s in a Name: Title that starts with the letter Z
Genre: Thriller, 9-11 Aftermath
Why I read this now: Typically, I select an audiobook based on how many hours it will take. Ten seemed a good number. Remember when I used to choose the loooooonnngest ones? yea, those days are gone. I no longer have lengthy chores (no lawn to mow!) nor long drives very often. Bummer.
MOTIVATION for READING: I have been wanting to read more by this author. I really enjoyed Beautiful Ruins – which I also had the pleasure of listening to (the narrator’s voice is gorgeous; Edoardo Ballerini)
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Brian Remy is a retired cop and he is having memory gaps. He keeps ‘waking up’ in a new scene of his life and can’t recall how or what happened prior to that moment. For the reader, it is like turning the page and thinking a page has been skipped. Both protag and reader are in the dark as to what the heck is going on. We both attempt to fill in the gaps and create a story, a timeline to what Remy is experiencing. It is quite unsettling.
“Maybe every couple lived in the gaps between conversations, unable to say the important things for fear they had already been said, or couldn’t be said; maybe every relationship started over every time two people came together.”
And darkly funny. But a sad funny because what he is messed up with isn’t going well and lives are at stake.
“Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.” “Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on. “What made you do that?” “I shot myself in the head last night.” “Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment, staring straight ahead. “It looks good.”
WHAT’s GOOD: We (OK, “me” – the reader) get the idea that Remy might be having split personality syndrome but we root for the guy. The Remy we are privy to is the ‘good’ Remy, and we ache and yearn for him to figure it out so all can end well. But hey – we doubt that will happen. I mean, it is the aftermath of 9-11, so we have all the patriotism, all the say-I-love-you-to-your-loved-ones, the courtesy and slowing down, but also the conspiracy theories, the chase to find the terrorist cells responsible, the aching sadness experienced and shared collectively by those who lost someone, the always-shared stories of where-we-were and somebody-I-know-was-supposed-to-be-there.
All that came back to me as I listened to this story. And, it felt… OK. Okay good. I never felt that this story was manipulative or disrespectful. It was vague and confused, like everything was at that time.
There was a lot of imagery and absurdity. Walter is a very good author; he has a deft hand at dark humor without ever being over the top. I look forward to reading more. I had to look if this book was a part of the TOB from the year 2006 but, no. I would have loved to read the commentary and judgments of having this in the Tourney.
What’s NOT so good: I have nothing to fault, other than I am both glad it was audio and not; knowing that because it was audio, I wonder if I might have missed something. But, I do think it was pretty good at the gap shifts when listened to. Would I recommend this? Yes, to those curious readers who like feeling disoriented while reading. I don’t think I know many of those kinds of readers.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I will read more books written by Jess Walter.
RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I noticed.
On a different note, here are the audiobooks I just purchased and hope to get to soon:
May brings us the nonfiction mini-TOB by The Morning News. The three books I voted for are the ones they selected so I guess I have to participate. Priestdaddy is one; Hunger by Roxane Gay and Educated by Tara Westover the other two. I thought a quick funny Graham memoir would fill in for when I need snippets of listen…
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