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22 March 2012

paperback from TOR Books, published October 2011.

Another book where i didn’t just stroll into the bookshop and buy it. This one was a gift from my TOR editor (Jim Frenkel) who kindly sent me a copy when I said I’d really like to read it. (having seen the blurb elsewhere.)
And basically if you see a review on my site you can bet that either I liked the book, or whichever friend reviewed it did. I see no reason to post scathing reviews of books I loathed. So yes, up front, I did like this book. That said – it’s seriously weird.
I got confused about ten pages in, stayed that way for almost all of the book, and only realized exactly what was going on at the end. But the journey was great, a rollercoaster of a read that is sweet, funny, and wickedly true to what I imagine is the genuine life of a 13 year-old boy in New York of the 1940s sometime.
I say ‘sometime’ because internal evidence from the book using the dates of cited films, place the main character anywhere from 1941 to 1948. I also suspect that portions of the book are direct from the author’s own experiences, but there’s no drawback in that. The other main character is ‘Jane’, who pops in and out – also up and down, yes, on one occasion she is said to have levitated in a movie theatre – and who appears at various ages, once at 5, several when she is apparently 13, and again in her thirties. However those appearances are not sequential, and therein lies a clue. One I can’t explain because if I go deeper into the theme I’ll spoil the story.
And it’d be a shame to spoil this book for any would-be reader. I read it bemusedly, wondering on what ride I was being taken, where I was going, and who would be clipping my tcket when I got there? I can tell you that much. The author punched my ticket, made me like it, made me add the book to my ‘keep permanently’ shelves, where it is waiting for me to come back and read it again, around 2015 -when my season’s ticket will be punched for the second time.
The author’s name didn’t ring a bell for me originally, I’m not a great fan of his other type of work, and it’s probably just as well I didn’t realize because I could have been put off this book – and that would have been a pity. It’s a great book, gentle, warm, and kind-with a killer ending. Go read it!

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