1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Captivating, character-led dark comedy,
This review is from: The Great Perhaps (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story of "The Great Perhaps" is divided very evenly between no fewer than five lead characters, as aptly described in Amazon's Product Description- absent-minded Jonathan, his wife Madeline who starts chasing a 'cloud man', his eldest daughter Amelia who is constructing a pipe bomb, his youngest daughter Thisbe who keeps praying to God to strike her down for all the bad thoughts she's having, and his father Henry who keeps trying to escape from his nursing home.
Each of these five characters is fully formed, believable, and could have merited a novel in their own right. The trial separation of Jonathan and Madeline is a modern romance novel (of sorts); Amelia's teenage Marxism is a sharp biting comedy novel; Thisbe's struggle with under-informed religious confusion is a philosophical tale about modern religion and misconceptions; and Henry's story is a very moving account of a dying man reminiscing about his life as a German refugee in the USA during the Second World War.
Joe Meno juggles all these characters neatly, cleverly, in a way that keeps you engaged throughout, always wanting to know what happens next in these five interweaving stories.
Thrown into the mix are other elements such as the background story of the run-in of the 2004 Presidential Election (John Kerry vs re-electing Bush) and how it causes further divides in the family. Then, almost as asides, the reader is flung back into the 19th and 16th centuries to meet Jonathan's tragic ancestors in little interlude chapters called "Comments Of Limited Historical Importance". Whilst not being related to the main story they are neat little throwaway sections that consider how problems can change and echo through time.
A captivating, character-led novel that succeeds as both comedy and tragedy. An excellent read and I'll be looking out for Joe Meno's next work.