Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Review: The Geographer's Library

I thought I would start doing things like reviewing books I read and maybe movies. I'm not sure how to start, so I'll do it like the kids on Reading Rainbow (add your own da-da DA! at the end).
If you thought The Da Vinci Code was engaging, but ultimately vapid, you may enjoy The Geographer's Library by John Fasman. The books alternates between the main story or a small town journalist trying to write an obituary for a man who dies mysteriously and the histories of objects stolen from a medieval alchemist's lab. It's been a while since I read a book I really wanted to pick back up each day. The writing was engaging and the characters felt real and their reactions to their situations felt realistic, which is all I ask for in any story. The main character is a recent college grad that's not sure what to do with himself or how to get out of his college head-space. He's stuck in a little town in New England full of appropriately odd and lonely characters until the obituary assignment breaks the monotony. Because I enjoyed reading it so much, I was kind of disappointed by the ending (is it bad to talk about the ending in a review?). It just kind of stopped. It was a little like an episode of Lost, all build-up and little pay-off. And either the twist was totally obvious, or it supposed to be something else and it just wasn't well set up (or there wasn't supposed to be a twist). Overall I can give this book only a luke warm recommendation, even though I thought it was great while I was reading it.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's read this a really liked it. Or who had a different impression of the ending.