Jason (RawBlurb)'s Reviews > Body of Knowledge

Body of Knowledge by Bryce Anderson
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Jan 07, 14

bookshelves: reviewed, reviewed-on-fnordinc, arc
Read in June, 2009, read count: 1

I have no doubt that this is one of the books that will endure generations, as they say, one of the “Next Great American Novels”.

Body of Knowledge, written by Bryce W. Anderson (from here referred to as BoK), has a simple and intriguing description printed on its back. Initially, it was this cover text that pulled me in:
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An ant has two stomachs. I know this because my neighbor told me. He’s incredibly intelligent and we’ve talked every evening on his porch for—has it only been two months? He’s taught me to look at everything differently, and I’ve learned so much: the nature of time, the value of inquiry, and an understanding that even the impossible can sometimes be true. He’s become my mentor, guide and best friend. So you see, I had no other choice but to see if I could kill him.
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… Where to go from here is difficult. Virtually no other details of the story can be discussed with out spoiling aspects of the tale.

The story follows the personal interactions of two men: Bryce (named after the author) and JP. Bryce awakes one morning to find a bizarre man (JP) across the street, moving into his neighborhood. Reluctantly, Bruce crosses the road and introduces himself. What follows is one of the most intricate and detail oriented stories I have read in 10 years. But it is not the story I expected, and I think that is they key to the books greatness.

Initially, I think I was like many others, cracking the pages of BoK was to going to bring out an anxious plotline, filled with deep-seated murder plans. I expected a generic book that was carried by it’s lively characters alone. I expected to be entertained.

About a third of the way through this book, I was caught off guard. The plot was nothing like I expected. There were no intricate plans laid. The story is far from being generic. As a side effect, I was completely unable to guess how it would end. Anderson presents the book in a manner that allows you to make your own conclusions. You can absorb the story with out having to worry about being pulled or pushed onto a mold. The book is not heavy handed; you are not told how to experience it.

Nutshell view? I was not merely entertained; I was driven to devour this book. I needed to know how it ended. Now, I need someone to read it so I can talk about it. The drive to devour still exists, but is funneled into a need to discuss. This is a book club book, worthy of sitting down over coffee and biscuits and bullshitting. I have passed my copy over to my fiancé so she could read it. In the meantime, I am a knot… tied to ideas I cannot discuss. I am being tortured.

I look forward to when the pages of my copy get older, when they take on the musty cinnamon/dried leaves odor of yellowing decay. I love this smell, and it is one of the main reasons I prefer used books. I think this small change will compliment the text in a manner no review I write could. After you read it, let me know if you agree.

Buy this book!

Author’s website: http://www.bryce-anderson.com

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