Thursday, August 4, 2011
Recommended read: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
The darker mood of the novel is perpetuated in dysfunctional post-Katrina New Orleans. It naturally provides many possibilities as to Willings' disappearance. Did Vic die in Katrina, was he murdered, or did he simply just stay away afterwards without leaving a forwarding address? The chaos that was New Orleans after Katrina is unfathonable for us outsiders and Gran does a very impressive job conveying the utter devastation that followed. This passage so aptly describes this: "some people, I saw, had drowned right away. And some people were drowning in slow motion, drowning a little bit at a time, and would be drowning for years. And some people, like Mick, had always been drowning. They just didn't know what to call it until now."
The character I find most interesting isn't really even a true character: Silette. His philosophy on crime detection I find to be a revelation: " 'When a person disappears," silette wrote in Detection, "the detective must look at what she took with her when she left-- not only the material items, but what is gone without her, what she carries with her to the underworld; what words will go unspoken; what no longer exists if she is made to disappear.' " This point Silette makes would be useful for any crime solver's arsenal.
So, to my issues with this book: there's little emotional attachment to the main character. She is more mysterious than the actual mystery she solves; her motives for most things are unclear, probably to be explained in a later installment ( I believe Gran is gearing this up to be a series). The closest I came to some clarity is the background story on her friend Tracey's disappearance as a teenager. My other beef was that the dialogue of some characters was annoying and repetitive at times. I would think to myself, just say it already!
In the end, though, I have to recommend a book where I like the supporting characters and the mystery itself was fulfilling, but I'm just not a fan of the main character (not yet anyway)-- which might just be the author's intention. Not too bad for a book I picked up because I liked the cover.
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
Find it in the catalog!