**spoiler alert** This book introduces Sherlock Holmes, seen through the eyes of John Watson, MD. Holmes proves to be a much more interesting personal**spoiler alert** This book introduces Sherlock Holmes, seen through the eyes of John Watson, MD. Holmes proves to be a much more interesting personality than is often portrayed. In addition to his voluminous knowledge of subjects that most people might label minutiae, his wickedly funny attitude and sense of humor were refreshing to sample. Insofar as the book stays with Holmes and with Dr. Watson's often amazed or flummoxed reaction to him, it is delightful and successful. The entire middle section, however, where the action flashes back to the Wild and Desolate American West, was overwrought and purple in the extreme. This was a part to just get through, as every page of it brought me closer, I hoped to a return to Holmes and Watson. I won't excuse the "evil Mormons" section on grounds of its age or time period, as there are authors who do greater justice to The West writing in the same time period. Oh well. As an introduction to this delightfully sardonic character, though, the book was excellent. ...more
Like a film by David Lynch, this book adheres to its own strict logic. The fact that it is a logic of tortured, faulty, and half-buried memory is no Like a film by David Lynch, this book adheres to its own strict logic. The fact that it is a logic of tortured, faulty, and half-buried memory is no reason to call the novel inconclusive. This brilliant novel is a journey into a very strange mindscape, taking us brutally to the end of the line. The book operates very much like Jean Daragane's old yellow cardboard suitcase stuffed with seemingly important papers and photographs but---thankfully as far as he is concerned---permanently locked and with a lost key. That suitcase was such a bald, blatant symbol of Daragane's memory, and I thought Modiano hammered too many times. But you need such ridiculous hammer blows in a.slippery manuscript like this from to time to jolt you out of the dreamlike memory logic, if only for a moment before your head slips below the surface again. To pull off such a memorable memory journey and at the same time have it follow the tropes and exhibit the characters of a noirish murder yarn is a wonderful accomplishment. But at its best, detective fiction always portrays a psychological unfolding. I loved the slow accretion of names and unconnected incidents that became almost musical as Daragane traveled further into the untrustworthy forest of his memory. It felt surreal as it went on. I loved that the only comprehensible measure of time throughout seemed to be fifteen years. All in all, this was a thoroughly unexpected, strangely intriguing, and ultimately heartbreaking journey....more
It is kind of a novelistic treatment of the Groundhog Day gimmick. Here, the protagonist is born over and over agFascinating premise, deftly handled.
It is kind of a novelistic treatment of the Groundhog Day gimmick. Here, the protagonist is born over and over again, living different timelines depending on certain decisions she makes.
I liked the fact that the author handled all this in a very subtle way, never bludgeoning you with it, and letting the force of the argument gather subtly and very gradually. Nothing is ever "explained," which is just right.
The idea is to show how small decisions in one's life can have huge consequences, and how we all can end up in a variety of sometimes tragically different circumstances, based on these decisions.