Monday, February 13, 2012

A Book for Book Lovers

Just finished reading a terrific new novel, a debut: The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai.

Never heard of the author.  The title was intriguing, but I knew that was just the halo effect of The Borrowers, a children's book I love (The text later revealed the author does too).  I hate to admit this, but what made me pick it up was the cover.  I'm an architect.  I'm visual.  So sue me.

But what made me check the book out of the library and take it home and read it was that quick flip through the pages that you do - you know the one - letting words and sentences catch your eye.  Mine was caught by a humorous tone and a bookish ambiance.  The narrator is a librarian.  (Of the "good" kind, not the file-this-like-national-secrets-away-from-the-public kind.  A shock to meet my first order-freak librarian after thinking book lovers were the norm, I'll tell you.)  Anyway, the narrator is both a librarian and a reluctant kidnapper of a ten year old library patron.

For me, The Borrower is a stay-up-too-late book, a finish-at-a-rush book.  Pages turned, but this is not a plot-driven book, it's a discovery book.  Like the narrator, the reader has no idea where this road trip will go or how it can end well, but the trip is so interesting, its detail and texture so real, that you ride along.  Story, characters, and tone are often humorous, but in that wry life-well-observed way that can be both funny and sad.  A theme about family history and family stories is still echoing in my head... along with that Australian national anthem that the kid keeps singing.

The Borrower.  Rebecca Makkai.  Borrow it.  Then (like me) buy a copy to reread.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai More about it HERE

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