tripping the life unbalanced

Saturday, April 22, 2006

#35 A Perfect Night to go to China

This latest read on my 50 book challenge was quick. I finished the book in under 3 hours and afterward thought: that was it? David Gilmour's A Perfect Night To Go To China took top fiction prize at the Governor General's awards last fall, and for that reason this book showed up on many of those recommended lists from 2005. Which is how it ended up on my list.

Maybe I'm not getting the full point of the book, or maybe I was just overwhelmed with his constant dream metaphors that seemed...well...kind of elementary. It is a haunting story. A man (Roman) leaves his 6 year old son at home by himself one evening for 15 minutes while he visits a nearby bar. And of course when he gets back the boy is gone. The book picks up from there, following Roman as he spirals into grief and guilt.

Obviously the subject matter itself is enough to somewhat turn me away from this book: a story about a missing kid? Check one for my worst nightmare. And grief over said kid? That can be all for me, folks.

But I do think that the subject of grief and loss can be dealt with better (whether in fiction or non-fiction). I would point you to the current book on my nightstand: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I will be posting my thoughts on that one soon.

Otherwise, I can't really say that I would recommend A Perfect Night to go to China. Maybe there was stuff going on in Gilmour's dream sequences that was far beyond me. Or maybe the subject matter itself made me extra critical. But regardless, this was not a book that touched or moved me.


  • What is this thing you call reading?

    By Blogger Marla, at 8:09 p.m.  

  • I've been working my way through "The Year of Magical Thinking" and have given it to 3 people recently (tough year). I'm enjoying it (complete with the sup-sups, snif)in a 'healthy' kind of way...?
    Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

    By Anonymous Peanut's Mommy, at 8:42 p.m.  

  • I can't wait to read what you think about Joan Didion's book. I've read excerpts and it looks intriguing, if not a little depressing. I've almost picked it up a couple of times.

    By Anonymous sweatpantsmom, at 1:42 p.m.  

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