In this tour de force of imagination, Ron Currie asks why literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths, creating yet again a genre-bending novel that will at once dazzle, move, and provoke.
The protagonist of Ron Currie, Jr.’s new novel has a problem—or rather, several of them. He’s a writer whose latest book was destroyed in a fire. He’s mourning the death of his father, and has been in love with the same woman since grade school, a woman whose beauty and allure is matched only by her talent for eluding him. Worst of all, he’s not even his own man, but rather an amalgam of fact and fiction from Ron Currie’s own life. When Currie the character exiles himself to a small Caribbean island to write a new book about the woman he loves, he eventually decides to fake his death, which turns out to be the best career move he’s ever made. But fame and fortune come with a price, and Currie learns that in a time of twenty-four-hour news cycles, reality TV, and celebrity Twitter feeds, the one thing the world will not forgive is having been told a deeply satisfying lie.
What kind of distinction could, or should, be drawn between Currie the author and Currie the character? Or between the book you hold in your hands and the novel embedded in it? Whatever the answers, Currie, an inventive writer always eager to test the boundaries of storytelling in provocative ways, has essential things to impart along the way about heartbreak, reality, grief, deceit, human frailty, and blinding love.
I’m kind of on the fence about this one. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t satisfying either.
In a nutshell, Ron and Emma maintain an unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship for decades. Neither of them really learns anything or grows. They just continue to use each other and others.
Scattered into that story is the story of Ron’s father’s death from cancer. I’m not entirely sure what purpose that served, other than to provide another story line for the main character.
I listened to this book, so it was hard to follow — it bounced around from time and place. Maybe (I hope) the book had some visible scene breaks to help you know when those changes would happen; on the audio, however, the switches were abrupt and sometimes jarring.
This felt less like a story than a stream-of-conscience rambling. I prefer an actual story that I can follow, but it you’re looking for something pretty far out of the box, you might enjoy this book.
R-rated for sex and language. Get your copy here!