Lisa's Reviews > The Geographer's Library

The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman
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really liked it
bookshelves: mystery, perfect-for-autumn, united-states

Just out of a prestigious (and fictional) New England college, but without a girlfriend or a life plan, Paul takes a job as a writer for a biweekly paper in a sleepy Connecticut town. When a reclusive professor from his alma mater dies, Paul is assigned his obituary and soon discovers that the professor's life--and the manner of his death--were not as ordinary as they seemed.

The chapters alternate between telling the story of Paul's investigation and recounting the history of artifacts that once belonged to Al-Idrisi, a 12th century geographer from Baghdad. I loved the book's New-England-autumn-mystery feel (reminding me of Donna Tartt's The Secret History) and I was impressed by how many cultures and national histories that the writer was able to write about with (from my limited view, anyway) an air of authenticity.

I was underwhelmed by the ending--"That's it?" I thought--until I got to the final page and saw how it resonated with a previous passage, and decided that the ending was satisfying after all. So the pay-off is really all through the book, not in a grand climax at the end.

I came out of this book just really liking Jon Fasman. Maybe because the book could be so easily shrugged off as just another Da Vinci Code imitator, but it was evident to me that Fasman put a lot of care and skill into his work--Fasman pays serious attention to his writing, which stands head and shoulders above Dan Brown's--in spite of the fact that it did, in many ways, read like a first novel. I feel like Fasman could just get better and better as he continues to write, and I hope that he does.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 15, 2011 – Shelved
October 15, 2011 – Finished Reading
November 24, 2011 – Shelved as: mystery
September 25, 2012 – Shelved as: perfect-for-autumn
July 28, 2013 – Shelved as: united-states

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