V.'s Reviews > Touch

Touch by Elmore Leonard
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-reviewed-2013

This is quite an atypical Leonard novel. It’s got a lot of familiar E.L. tropes, the smooth dialogue, some humour, some violence and a laconic sort of plot that seems to go from one place to another without you really noticing (which is all fairly enjoyable), but the story itself is more of an observational sketch than a genuine narrative.

The main problem though is that the main character isn’t really the main character. Juvenal can heal people but he doesn’t know why or how and the author does everything he can to avoid explaining it, which means we never see the book from the hero’s perspective.

The healing is real and accompanied by bleeding stigmata in a classic faith healing type set up. Other than establishing this, the author has little interest in the source of this power (could be divine, could be something else, no way of knowing so it's not investigated). Instead the guileless Juvenal is placed in the middle of people who try to use him for their own gain, and he doesn’t really mind, or care, or have any desire for anything in particular.

He is such a relaxed, easy-going nice guy that he’s barely believable, which isn’t really a great main character for a book. What if someone had this gift and he was a really nice, unassuming dude? It’s a weird premise that is both unlikely and uninteresting.

The story is also very short and ends abruptly. After establishing he’s for real and that a number of people would like to take advantage of him, there’s a mildly comical farce type of scene on a local live tv talk show (do they even have those?), after which the main characters just leave to go off and start life in another part of the country. Not very satisfying.
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Reading Progress

July 17, 2012 – Shelved
July 1, 2013 – Started Reading
September 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 25, 2013 – Shelved as: read-reviewed-2013

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