Juan Valera's Reviews > Idlewild

Idlewild by Nick Sagan
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Aug 31, 10

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Sarcasm. Plain, unadulterated self-loathing, nicotine addiction. None of these are good in the grand scheme of things, nor are they good for you. I love them now. Why, I hear you ask? Simple. Halloween likes them. And Halloween is the single most fascinating character I have ever read. I've never smoked in my life, but just reading Sagan's "Idlewild" makes me crave the cloves Hal is constantly lighting up. Hal is the protagonist, but he's one of the best examples of an anti-hero ever: he's sullen, intelligent, hates authority, hates everyone around him but grudgingly sticks with them, and he's confused inside. More so than usual at the beginning of "Idlewild."

My point with this rambling excuse for a review is the following: good books have characters that undergo change and act memorably. Great books have characters that are forced to change and become templates for all such future characters. This is Halloween to me. As a writer, I've tried to put a little of Hal in everything I write, from manuscripts to recipes. The occasional sarcastic snipe in a cookbook is charming and indicative of character, I believe. Ah, there we are, the magic word: Character. You, me, Dickinson, and Poe, all of us writers, all could use more character in our characters. More oomph, more of a distinguishable taste that makes them themselves. Again, to me, that's Halloween.
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