Antof9's Reviews > Man Walks Into a Room

Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss
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's review
Jan 08, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009-read, americana, couldn-t-put-it-down, wanna-change-the-ending, nyc, first-novel
Read in January, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I really liked this book ... until I got to the end. I don't mean I disliked it, but I realized that as I was reading it, I was really enjoying it, but that was sort of anticipatory of what I thought might happen near the end. Perhaps it was the misleading back cover (which I hardly ever even read!), or perhaps it was just my naive desire for a happy ending, but I really thought it would end differently.

It was fascinating, and really well written. I'm always surprised when a woman writes from a man's point of view, or a man writes from a woman's point of view, and it's believable. But it was, and was very well done. It was also interesting to read Samson's perceptions and observations about Anna, as she grieved for her husband and their relationship.

Sometimes when you're watching a movie, you notice something that is missing, rather than something that happens. It's when I assume that the scene that would have explained what I'm confused about must be "on the cutting room floor". The same thing happened at one point in the book. Samson is having a conversation with Lana over lunch, and he says, "I'd follow you in a paddle boat and shout encouragement." Her response: "Thanks. And if you ever decide to walk across the country again, I'll follow you in a car." This never comes up again, but I felt like it told us how he ended up where we first met him. Why isn't this discussed? Why doesn't the author follow up on this? Why doesn't Samson ask Lana more about this? Or tell Anna about it? I think the answers must have been edited out. This is the kind of thing I would ask the author about if I were a reporter.

There was also a use of "disorientated" that I thought should have been "disoriented": Soon the long corridor gave way to other long, equally sterile stretches of corridor and Samson became disorientated. The sour chemical smell in the air, so archly inhuman, and the vile light that cast everything in a flat and sickly hue were enough to lend the place a tense, unnerving quality... Maybe it's small of me to pick at that one word when the rest of the writing is so good (as illustrated by the words around it), but that bothered me!

I did like this -- don't get me wrong. But I wanted more hope at the end than I got. It won't usurp History of Love as my favorite of her books, but I'm glad I've read her first novel.

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