Jason's Reviews > The Sound of Building Coffins

The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros
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's review
Sep 10, 11

bookshelves: read-2011
Read from September 05 to 10, 2011

3.5 Stars

 This is an extremely hard to classify book. It is a combination of a horror novel, a historical fiction novel, a surreal fantasy, and a character study. While there is a great deal to enjoy about this unusual read, it is not an easy ride.

One thing that really worked well was the overall dark and dirty 1800's New Orleans feel that permeates through out this book. Maestros has created the feel of New Orleans down to the finest detail. The book feels like it is straight out of the old bayou and makes you want to take in more. The scenery, the street shops, the transportation, and even the way the people spoke, their diction all oozed this great time period. In this sense the book really plays out mostly a historical fiction time piece.

The book also excels on it's characterizations. Our protagonists are real, three dimensional, and very unique. Take their names for example:  Typhus, Malaria, Cholera, Diphtheria and Dropsy, children named after diseases to show the glory of god.  Others were also interesting: Reverend Noonday Morningstar, Marcus Nobody Special and even the boogeyman named Coco Robicheaux. Typhus, our main protagonist grows up to be a man of conviction from the young boy that the story first centers on. I really enjoyed much of the cast and could actually picture what they would look like, sound like, and even smell like. These are not cardboard cutouts.

The major problem I had with this book is it's inconsistencies in the stories that were told as backstory. Some, were very good and fit with the pacing of the novel. Others were very slow, offbeat, and did not fit in well with the main story line. Disjointed is the word that comes to mind as I progressed through this somewhat difficult read.

Overall, this book is definitely worth a read if you are willing to put some effort into it. Maistros reminds me a bit of Murakami, and that is a really huge compliment. Overall a fun read.
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Reading Progress

09/06/2011 page 100
28.0% "Wow, I am very impressed so far by this difficult to categorise novel that is part horror, part history, and all atmospheric New Orleans of the late 1800's. This is a book that has made me slow down my reading to take it all in....Awesome !"

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