Jodi's Reviews > In the Fool's Footsteps

In the Fool's Footsteps by Karen  Hoffman
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it was amazing

** spoiler alert **
When you pick up a book and read the synopsis on the jacket you take a chance hoping the book is all it professes to be. In the Fool’s Footsteps delivers on that promise. Karen Hoffman’s debut novel is lyrically written and felt like a gift from the author, as she invited me into the pages wherein she retells the life of a journal, from the first entry until the last word seventy-seven years later.

The story is told in the narrative of Kal Winters, a university student in search of a thesis topic, we are regaled with a cast of unusual people and their interesting and often humorous stories. Finding a journal, or rather the journal finding Kal, in an off-the-wall bookstore owned by a friend, Kal becomes intrigued by the entries contained within the pages. The first entry is written by Clara, a young runaway arriving in Toronto in search of her dreams with subsequent entries by others as the journal comes into their possession. On a hunch Kal begins to think the writers are connected and soon the hunch turns into an all out obsession.

Karen Hoffman gives each of the characters that made a journal entry their own sub-story that she connects into the bigger picture. The details written into the characters are so diverse you would think they are based on people Karen has in her life. My personal favourite is Marcus who owns the bohemian style bookstore Prosperpo’s, and reinvents books much to the chagrin of his patrons.

The truly amazing part of Karen’s writing is that not only does she tell the story of the journal but also adds snippets of books supposedly written by Clara under assumed names to conceal her identity. The way each of these passages is written is almost poetic and left me wanting to read more.

In the Fool’s Footsteps is a truly engaging read that I highly recommend. Once you open the book you will be hooked and will have difficulty in putting it down. I found myself wondering why this novel wasn't included in the long-list for the Giller Prize. In my opinion it would be a top contender.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author for an honest review.


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Reading Progress

October 11, 2012 – Started Reading
October 11, 2012 – Shelved
October 14, 2012 –
page 115
October 14, 2012 – Finished Reading

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