Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What May Obtain

I just completed A Beautiful Piece by Joesph G Peterson. The book is set in Chicago during the 1995 heat wave. A heat wave where about 750 people died of heat exposure. The book is narrated in the first person by the character Robert.

Unlike Treasure Island, this is an adult book. Not in an X-rated sense but it explores themes that one must have lived a while to understand. The main theme is unrealized dreams. Robert finds himself living alone and lonely. He is possibly unemployed and wishing his life had turned out different. Throughout he theorizes why his life is what it is what he could or should do about it.

Besides Robert the book have very few characters. There is Lucy, the woman Robert is having an affair with. Lucy is a lifeline out of the rut of his life. The Vet is Robert's best friend and drinking partner. The Vet is his anchor. Epstein is another friend of Robert's who he fishes with and is a different kind of anchor. Robert idolizes Epstein referring to him as "My Mystic." Although the main theme of the book is loneliness and unrealized dreams, of wishing for a better life. Through the Vet and Epstein the book also shows unconditional friendship. Even if that friendship isn't always recognized and appreciated.

The final character of consequence is Matthew Gliss, Lucy's fiance.

It is short book at just 205 pages but it has no chapters. The style of the writing is very much an exploration of how memories come into a person's mind. Memories are circular and fold back onto one another over and over again. And like memories they do not come in chronological order and the same memory occurs repeatedly.

The book has no chapters but is fast paced. Because of the style of writing the lack of chapters isn't a detriment. It can easily be picked up in the middle of a page.

I guess this book would not be for everyone. I found myself very able to identify with Robert, however. Not that I'm in the same boat he is but at times I've had many of the same feelings. I very much loved this book and would recommend it.



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