I have to start by raving about how beautiful this book is. The feel of the book itself and its cover, the gorgeous illustrations by Jarrod Taylor, thI have to start by raving about how beautiful this book is. The feel of the book itself and its cover, the gorgeous illustrations by Jarrod Taylor, the thickness and heaviness of the pages, even its size - you can tell that this book was designed with the utmost care. It gives testament to just how much (so, so much) went into the crafting of the story itself, which is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I especially loved how the journal entries were written using the Loteria cards - entries written as the images on the cards evoked memories, rather than in the more perfunctory linear timeline. It muddies up the waters a bit, which is so much more true to the way life and memory work. ...more
You know, I can't properly review this book without spoiling something. What I can tell you is that:
1. I had high expectations going in (years of anti You know, I can't properly review this book without spoiling something. What I can tell you is that:
1. I had high expectations going in (years of anticipation will do that to you) 2. My expectations were met, if not exceeded 3. The atmosphere creeped me out enough that, at 1:30 in the morning, when I realized my husband forgot to turn the sprinklers off, I almost left them on all night rather than go out in the dark to the side of my house and turn off the water. (Granted, I am kind of chicken shit. I always check behind doors and closed shower curtains, and I've been known to sprint up the stairs after turning off all of the downstairs lights.) 4. I am bummed that it is over. I didn't want it to end, yet I couldn't put it down 5. This would make a badass movie
And for more atmosphere, add about 80% of Radiohead's music - especially Amnesiac & Hail to the Thief - to the songs below and you've got my Night Film playlist.
**Edited to add (July 28) - I was thinking about this last night and I had to come and update my review. I loved this book, but -of course- it is by no means perfect. One of the biggest problems that I had was Pessl's inability to "dumb down" character dialogue when it was necessary or appropriate. Characters would go into long monologues of explanation and I couldn't help but be jarred out of the narrative a bit. Most people do not talk like this, especially in the situations they were in (I wish I could be more specific, but spoilers and all that). For example (and keep in mind, these quotes were spoken out loud by characters:
"I was doing inventory in the back, when suddenly I was aware that all the light had retreated from the store, as if the sun had fled, cowering behind a cloud. Alarmed, I glanced up."
"When men desire each other, they crash together like wrecking balls, quenching their need right then and there, as if the world were about to end."
"... you felt as if you were following a beautiful twinkling light, luring you into the woods. As soon as you lost all sense of direction, were unable to find the way back, it turned on you viciously, exposed you nakedness, blinded you, burned you."
Great writing, but not really believable in context. Letter or journal writing, sure. Conversation? Not so much.
It is driving me nuts that I can't remember how or where I heard about this book. I can't ask anyone either, because only 13 people on GR have rated iIt is driving me nuts that I can't remember how or where I heard about this book. I can't ask anyone either, because only 13 people on GR have rated it. That's why I'm thinking I must have seen it on a "criminally overlooked books of 2012" list or something. Seriously, only 13? How is that even possible?! At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it is a fucking travesty that Hugh Sheehy's gem of a short story collection barely registered as a blip on our collective reading radar, while certain Shades of Shit continue to blow up the bestseller list. If I think about it for too long, I'm in danger of giving myself an aneurysm.
I feel like kind of a jerk only giving this 4 stars. When I thumbed back through the book to note which stories were my favorites, I realized that I had enjoyed every single one. There were a few times where I felt the ending of a story was a bit more abrupt than I would have liked, but even that was more of a fleeting afterthought. Mostly I was just enamored and completely enveloped in the lives of these "Invisibles". Maybe 4 stars is my way of saying READ THIS BOOK without completely over inflating your expectations.
Oh, and my (hard to pick) favorites:
Meat and Mouth The Invisibles Smiling Down at Ellie Pardo Ghost Stories Variations on a Theme