Ciara's Reviews > The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon
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Dec 29, 08

bookshelves: especially-great-novels, read-in-2008
Recommended for: fans of political thrillers, underground fugitives from justice, weather underground devotees
Read in August, 2008, read count: twice

oooh, i am really into this book. you kind of have to get past the gimmicky fact that it is comprised entirely of e-mails, & that no one really writes that eloquently when they are writing e-mail, but whatever. i'll let it slide this one time. okay, so the story is pretty complex: the guy who instigates all of this e-mail writing is a fellow named daniel. the e-mails are being written to his daughter, who is around 18. she lives in england with her mother, a formerly well-known actress, the daughter of a united states senator, whose career was derailed by a drug problem. he is attempting to convince his daughter to come back to the united states & testify at a parole hearing so that someone--not specificed until the end of the book--will be released from jail. in order to convince her to do this, he basically has to tell her his entire life story, including the part about how he took her to new york city when she was eight years old & abandoned her in a hotel room. the deal is that he joined a weather underground-style group in the 60s & while living underground using a fake name & attending college again, he met her mother & fell in love. he confessed his real identity to her, & she used her father's government connections to keep everything hushed up. daniel was able to finish school & become a lawyer, & they had a child together. when the daughter was eight, a client came to daniel--a big-time pot distributer. he wondered if daniel would be willing to meet with a 60s fugitive who was looking to turn herself in to the FBI. daniel refused, but the location of the conversation was bugged (due to drug thing), & the FBI & the press started talking, & a small town reporter started digging a little deeper & putting the clues together. when daniel realized he was found out for sure, he had to run for it & leave his daughter in the hotel. he traveled to michigan, where he met up with another fugitive--an ex-girlfriend he hadn't seen since the night an armed robbery went awry, shortly after they had had a child together. he needed to convince her to do him a really big favor so he could go back to new york & take care of his daughter. so, these e-mails are coming to the daughter from her father, her father's 60s ex-girlfriend, this small town reporter who uncovered the whole thing, his girlfriend, the drug distributer whose house had been bugged, & i think that's everyone. & everyone is explaining how their lives became inter-connected & why they made the decisions they made, & why it's important for her to come testify at the parole hearing. now that i write it all out, it sounds pretty far-fetched, huh? & there are even a few more insanely coincidental twists to the plot that make it even worse. but i swear, it's a really compelling book. it's really hard to put down. & yeah, everyone now & again, you're like, "yeah, as if someone would write all this in an e-mail," or, "you have got to be kidding me with this ludicrousness," but at least it's not boring. right?
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