Saturday, 18 December 2010

In the Lake Of the Woods

This was another rescue from the last day of Borders and thankfully not another big pile of Dodo droppings like Clara Hopgood was. This book also made us do something, which I have not done in a very long time...

I had been reading this book on the bus traveling home from work ( I would read it on the way to work, but thanks to First Group habit of phantom buses, my hands are normally frozen by the time by bus comes along) and I got to the last 100 pages, and decided; Right going to clear and evening get a bottle of wine and finish this book on the comfort of the sofa. I think the last book that I did that for was Robert Graves Claudius the God - about five years ago.

In the lake of the woods, starts of with John Wade and his wife escaping to the lakes of Minnesota after John’s dismal performance in the elections for the US Senate. They take up a small cabin by the lakes, and are attempting to work out what to do with their lives next. Their relationship is pretty strained and we begin to see that there is more to John’s loss of the election than meets the eye.

John also suffers from nightmares which revolve around his father and his Vietnam past. One night, he awakes and goes into the kitchen where he has a near mental breakdown moment (oh that poor cactus). Sleeping in the next day, he awakes late in the day to find that his wife has gone.

At first thinking nothing of it, it is not till twelve hours later than he starts getting concerned and eventually the local police are involved and a search of the lakes begins.

There are two things, which make this a cracking read. The first is the character of John Wade through the use of flashbacks and his own internal monologue we get glimpses of his past and over the course of the book, a really nice 3D character is formed. The second, is the author uses a couple of really nice plot devices. The first is a mix of fictional and non-fictional sound bites - mainly to do with the Vietnam war and the investigation into his missing wife. Plus, why his campaign for senate failed. The information is dripped at a really nice pace. The second, and I can imagine fellow Leeds Savage member Maz commenting “I see what you did there” , is about every third or fourth chapter is a Hypothesis on what actually happened to his wife.

All throughout this I was wondering how the author was going to end it, and the way he does, I think is clever. I can see some people not liking the ending, especially if you like a book to wrap up on closure.

I can highly recommend this book, and looking forward to a few more people I know (including Mazzz In Leeds) to read it, so we can discuss the ending.

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