Monday, August 01, 2005

After seeing a couple of posts on various litblogs about Rupert Thomson, two of which singled out his book, The Insult, as particularly good, I decided to pick it up. The story begins with Martin, the narrator, getting randomly shot in the head in the parking lot of a grocery store. He recovers, but has been blinded by the injury. He starts to believe he can see, but only at night, although his doctor tries to convince him he is just experiencing a condition that makes blind people think they can see despite all evidence to the contrary. Whom to trust? Martin, in whose head we reside and who is so convincing and assured as he moves around the city at night? Or the doctor, who Martin believes is experimenting on him? Everything comes to a head when Martin heads up into the hills to try and discover what happened to the woman he was in love with who disappeared just as abruptly as she appeared in his life.

Overall I enjoyed the book a lot. It was a little slow at first, but picked up as soon as Martin took off on his own. But I found myself losing patience with it toward the end. Everything came together neatly, but nothing felt especially revelatory. The book wasn't disappointing exactly but it fell a little short of amazing for me. That said, I am still interested in reading his new one. But now my expectations will be slightly lower.

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