Michael's Reviews > Next

Next by James Hynes
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's review
Mar 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read from May 04, 2010 to May 06, 2011

If you've read anything about this book, you've probably read about its ending, a game-changing gut-puncher that'll send you scrambling back to the beginning to see how Hynes pulled it off.

That isn't necessarily untrue -- it is a killer finish -- but I think it'll do a disservice to readers if they're waiting for the big plot twist instead of savoring the narrative voice, which to me is the genuine triumph of the book. What amounts to a 308-page inner monologue (told in close third person) is so compulsively readable that it makes the final section jarring to read -- even though the particulars were foreshadowed right from the beginning.

As an entry in the venerable WMF* genre, Next is a breath of fresh air. As an entry in the still-germinating 9-11/terrorism genre, it's perhaps the best, most urgent I've yet to read. It also deftly utilizes pop culture references, which in lesser authors' hands would instantly date the novel. And it's very funny.

So my advice to those who read it is just sit back and let the inner ramblings of Kevin Quinn wash over you and don't worry about the ending -- it'll be sufficiently ass-kicking when you get there.

*White male fuck-up

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05/05/2011 page 135
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