Saturday, October 14, 2006

102. "The Inhabited World" ~ David Long

I waited a while to review this book. Fear held me back. Here was an author I respected and had a pseudo-semi-friendship via the luxury of e-mail. I've refrained from posting my friends' books before because of this fear of hurting their feelings or resisting my honest opinion.

I need not have worried so much.

In fact, I am more concerned that this book has not received more recognition. Yes, I'm talking to you, Pulitzer, and you, too, Man Booker. Because The Inhabited World tops my personal list for 2006 novels. It's not just because David Long was the first member of my blog's fan club or his ridiculously incredible taste in books.

Evan Molloy and Maureen Keniston are stuck in the same house in Washington. Evan, however, is dead, a "lost soul" wandering after his suicide. Maureen, while alive, mimics his purgatory by sleepwalking through her days, just barely on the cusp of figuring out how to change.

Beautifully detailed and described, Long sets scenes with the master strokes of Monet. Each sentence invokes meaning as we learn what led Evan to raise the gun to his head that fateful day. Every word is carefully chosen to glean the highest emotional response.

And it did. I wept. It is the first anniversary of a family member's suicide, which may tint my response. But I also wept at the sheer brilliance of the imagery, of Maureen's flaws, of Evan's family history.

I often want to thank an author for a special reading experience. In this case, I'm glad that I can do it personally. Well done, sir.

4.8 out of 5.0 Long Walks Off a Short Piers.


Joy said...

On a sad note: I'm sorry for your loss. {Kristen} I hope you hold good memories in your heart.

On a happy note: Oh my goodness...I can't wait to read this!!! I'm sure David will be quite pleased to say the least. Thanks for the review. :)

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and I'm working backwards from November. I'm reading Inhabited World now and concur completely (thanks to two kids, a dumb job, and a mild case of adult ADHD, I read more like one book in 150 days). The conceit of relating the ghost's gives the already beautifully written story an almost unbearable tension as everything that happens leaves you wondering how ultimately it leads to his final desperate act. Good luck in the last few weeks of your quest.