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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, toxic and otherwise, 12 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Consumption A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I'm a picky reader, prone to shelving novels unfinished when they fail to be engaging. To be engaging, they need subtlety and complexity - if I can see everything coming or if too much is explained, I'd just as soon read a catalog. Good fiction is a collaboration between author and reader.

Fortunately, G.S. Johnston understands all that, and with "Consumption" he has given us an unusual subject, explored with grace and nuance. As many others have remarked on the Amazon US site, the settings are so well realized you feel like you've been there, but without being overloaded with sensory detail. The plot is low-key but all the more realistic for it, and there are significant moments of drama that keep the pace moving. The characters are fully fleshed human beings, with pasts and problems and flaws and strengths, and that's what's at the heart of this book: people. Sara and Martin are so essentially human and their relationship so believable that even when we find them frustrating, the empathy remains.

The best thing about "Consumption" is that all the elements of the book serve the story by allowing the reader to invest a bit of themselves. The dialogue rings especially true in this sense, as people often talk somewhat obliquely to each other, leaving the other characters - and therefore the reader along with them - to interpret the real meaning. The book is pretty dialogue-heavy, in fact, but for me that was a big part of its appeal: the characters speak for themselves without authorial intrusion, allowing readers to get to know them as we would real people.

It's an all-around impressive first novel and I look forward to many more from Mr. Johnston!
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