10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
a marvellous book, wonderfully rediscovered,
This review is from: A Gay and Melancholy Sound (Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nancy Pearl has done readers of fine literature a great service in returning this book to publication and promoting it. It is a beautifully written, intelligent, emotional and funny work of classic fiction. The setting for the novel is a man planning to commit suicide, reviewing his life through a series of tape recordings during his last days.
Joshua Bland, protagonist and narrator, was born in the 1920s, growing up in the great depression. He had been a child prodigy, a genius famous across America, with the highest ever recorded IQ and a winner of a series of knowledge competitions, especially popular in those difficult years.
Now a mature man, wealthy, a bestselling author, yet a failure by the standards that were set for him, his review is filled with forensically acerbic observation of the smalltown world he grew up in, his family, the people he knew, often with a delightful irony that Jane Austen would have admired. There is nothing bland about Joshua.
His life has been touched with blight, disappointment, loneliness, sorrow, yet despite the context of a planned suicide and the acute and often sharply acid wit, this is a book filled with kindness, honesty, humanity, warmth, humour, good sense.
It asks questions about the purpose and meaning of life, what is a good life, what is the contribution genius should make up, what truly elevates a human being.
Studied with anecdote, fine stories, gems of portraiture and social observation, it deserves to be owned and read by every lover of literature and to remain in print for centuries. I shall leave you to discover the ending.