Top critical review
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Short and interesting
on 14 May 2009
This is a very short book which I read in two sittings, but since I finished it a few days ago I've found myself thinking about it more and more - the first time a book has nagged at me for a long while.
The book seems simple enough at first, telling the story of a man (Will) and his girlfriend (Alice), and Will's artistic friend who is also called Will. Non-arty Will introduces Alice to arty-Will, and from then on their relationship crumbles. A simple, if bleak, opening.
Then, the story shifts, and deals with another girl, Helen, who seems to work as a prostitute, and she has a (imaginary?) sister, and lives with a woman who doesn't approve of Helen's job and is herself rarely seen due to her night-time job in a casino. Helen hears from a potential client who wants to have sex with her on camera... and his name is Will too...
From this point the story becomes something of a puzzle, and you find yourself wondering who is who - is Helen really Alice; is the Will visited by Helen arty-Will or non-arty-Will or another Will entirely; is the Helen storyline set before, during or after the Wills & Alice story... and so on. In some ways any of these could be possible, and in the end the story ends ambiguously, almost as though the author wasn't quite sure himself.
Some have commented that they feel the urge to read the book again in case they missed something obvious, and I myself feel a little like this. I found myself flicking back through the book every now and again when certain things were mentioned which I was convinced I'd previously read, and sure enough there are plenty of links between the characters and storylines to be found. To be honest, I did enjoy the book and found it intriguing, but am I going to read it again to see what I missed? It's unlikely.
Well-written and intriguing, but I feel it thinks it is cleverer than it really is. I'll look out for his next book as he can certainly write, but for now this one is just a three star début in my opinion.