Virginia's Reviews > The Missing Person

The Missing Person by Alix Ohlin
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Apr 23, 09

Read in April, 2009

Alix Ohlin studied at the Michener Center, which is what drew me to this novel.

I had a hard time buying the characters' ideologies. That is, I didn't believe that they were the characters' as opposed to the author's, which made me contemplate that very aspect of good fiction. What is it that makes us believe in the *beliefs* of the characters, as separate from the author? It's a critical question, and mastering it is (in my opinion) critical to the success of any text.

Though Ohlin didn't convince me of her characters' ideologies, I did buy into the characters themselves (as contradictory as that sounds). I cared about the characters, and I wanted to know became of them. Half-way through the book, I began thinking of them as slightly untrustworthy/annoying friends--you like them; you're invested in them; you just don't trust them, or necessarily believe anything they say.

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message 1: by Ben (new)

Ben Good review Virginia... I remember reading an essay in the NY Times book review about the values of bad books:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/boo...

I think here is a great deal to be learned from reading a book that doesn't fully connect. If nothing else, I believe it opens one's eyes to dangerous passages in one's own work. Closer reading can even reveal similar deficits. This works in part because of the inherent objectivity with which we approach the work of someone else (versus the subjectivity that can contaminate a reading of our own work).


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