Book Review | A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe

loving faithful animalSet in Australia, A Loving, Faithful Animal shares the stories of a members in a disjointed family dealing with issues. Sisters Ruby and Lani spend a good deal of time outside the home. Their father, a sometimes abusive, Vietnam Veteran lives there, but often leaves for indeterminate lengths of time. Sometimes bruised, when not tracking down her husband in seedy bars and motels, their mother prefers an escape that involves living in her memories. Lani’s promiscuous habits and other poor decision making mean young Ru is often fending for herself.

The writing in this book is impressive, but clarity is sometimes lacking. Rowe’s use of the informal “you” in addressing Ruby made the story easy to jump into. However, coupled with chapters devoted to alternating family members, it created an additional layer to process. Each character’s section emphasized different aspects of the family’s shared story and all the sections came together well to make a whole. Readers who want the whole story spelled out will find problems with this format because there are several gaps left in the narrative. This book would appeal to fans of artful or raw fiction, especially those interested in reading about dysfunctional families. It is set to be released in mid-September, soon you should be able to place a hold on it a library near you.

I received an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading A Loving, Faithful Animal, you may be interested in Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (2017).

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Book Review | Lexicon : a novel by Max Barry

book cover Lexicon : a novel by Max BarryAnother great read from Max Barry, Lexicon begins at full throttle as a man is being kidnapped from the airport by two suits. They are pursued from multiple angles and the victim is sure he is not the guy they’re after. Barry’s newest novel will please fans as he’s crafted a slightly fantastical story with realistic interpersonal relationships and a hint of love.

Vaguely reminiscent of Stephen King’s Desperation and Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, Lexicon is a gripping, action-packed thriller that will keep you guessing in piecing together the puzzle. The basic premise is that words carry neurological stimuli and can be used to bypass the brain’s natural barriers in order to control people’s actions. An individual’s personality dictates which specific words will render him defenseless, but the discovery of a bareword that effects everyone is a real catalyst game-changer. Chapters alternate focus between two main characters until paths ultimately converge. This book is a bit of a departure for Barry and most critics will probably think that is a good thing, while long time readers may be wondering if he’s jumped on the mainstream train. Holds are prevalent, but check it out from a nearby library.