William's Reviews > Lamb

Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam
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Oct 10, 11

bookshelves: netgalley, nook, midwest-america, chicago, identity, sex-as-power
Read from September 19 to October 10, 2011

With seductive lulls and the artificial logic of manipulated consent, Lamb creates trust where none should exist, illuminating the almost unconscious -- and not insincere -- mechanisms that David Lamb, in his mid-life years, uses to convince 11-year-old Tommie to accompany him on a road trip from Chicago to Colorado. Most unsettling is how the reader himself begins to believe David's stories, and we, like young Tommie, are never quite sure where to stand. The constant tension, in ourselves and between the characters, is propelled by beautiful imagery, and with an approach that makes David believable as both a compelling, charming man and someone deeply out of touch with his surroundings. For his part, Lamb insists by force of personality that -- to Tommie, to his lover, to his coworkers, and to himself -- his actions have a kind of truth borne simply from their expression. The most wonderful trick of this novel is in its narrator's voice, never identified nor coyly implied, which reveals this story as if in flashback or remembrance or personal analysis. This is the best distance we could be given to view this tale, and while other books have more impact though violence or encouraged disgust, Lamb haunts with whispered promises and a genuine plea that some shape of compassion be communicated, despite whatever else is lost.
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09/19/2011 page 43
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