Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breaking the reading blahs

For the past month or so, I have been unable to get interested in any book I've tried to read. Have I gotten to the point where I don't enjoy reading? I can't imagine a life without a book in my hand...and yet, there I've been: uninterested and uninspired by any book I picked up. It's been, quite frankly, a bit unnerving. But then I picked up The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by first-time novelist Kathleen Alcott and it was as if I could hear the literary apathy I've experienced being tossed aside.  With this impressive debut, I feel as if my love of reading has been shored up.

Ida and Jackson are neighbors who grow up together. Their connection is so strong that they aren't always clear where one ends and the other begins. They experience life as a unit and nothing can come between them: not Jackson's younger brother James, not their parents, not other kids at school. As they reach adulthood, Jackson and Ida continue the romantic relationship that reached its inevitable commencement in their teen years. However, Jackson feels threatened and used by Ida's desire to market the artwork he creates in his sleep.

Alcott has created a compelling story with a truly accomplished writing style. On more than one occasion, I was reminded of Marilynne Robinson's style, particularly in Housekeeping. It is to Alcott's credit that despite this, her voice remained clearly her own. I am eager to turn to the other books I have waiting for me now that I've broken through my reading apathy with this intelligent, well-written book. 

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