Saturday, November 14, 2009

Top 60 Novels of 2000-2009 Countdown: No. 47

Although this book was published mid-decade, I came across it only a couple of months ago. It turns out to be one of the best books I have read in 2009. Meno's mournful style combines elements of detective-story satire (particularly the Hardy Boys) with genuine loss and longing as the Boy Detective, now a man, must confront life outside the mental institution he entered after the suicide of his beloved sister and sidekick. The hero fades in and out of several stories, including a wild criminal conspiracy, the lives of a brilliant but unpopular girl and her mute, violent brother; and a kleptomaniac with whom he falls in love. Like a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, this book has the texture of a multiple story-arc dream, one that resolves into hope. I liked it so much, I bought (but have not yet read) his most recent novel, "The Great Perhaps." I solved some of the post-modern puzzles in the book, but not the code that appeared on the pages.

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