Monday, January 23, 2006

Saturday I finished up The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn. It ended up being a lot less compelling than I was hoping it would be, so there was a lot of skimming happening in the second half of the book. I can't quite decide what exactly bugged me about it. By all rights it should have been fascinating, and it was... when the author backed the hell off and let the detectives speak for themselves. It also didn't help that she deflated any suspense there might have been by summarizing the cases and their conclusions in the first chapters. By the time that particular case rolled back around and I found out the particulars of what happened and who did it, I had little invested in the conclusion because I already knew the outcome.

So then Sunday I was delighted to immerse myself in Veronica by Mary Gaitskill. The narrator is a former model named Alison, now in her fifties, who, during the course of a day, reminisces about her life and her friendship with Veronica, who died of AIDS in the 1980s. I loved the writing - often a paragraph would start out in the present, jump back to the 1980s, jump again to Alison's childhood, and then back to the '80s. It sounds confusing but it never was. It all flowed beautifully. Alison is a flawed heroine, unlikeable at times, who is made a better person through her friendship with Veronica. But this isn't some cloying "how my dying friend made me realize how precious life is" story. Veronica is complex and flawed herself, but together she and Alison seem to click. Good stuff.

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