Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Facades by Eric Lundgren


The Facades by Eric Lundgren

Lundgren’s debut The Facades follows Sven Norberg through the Midwestern town of Trude, hunting for his missing wife. One night, Molly, Trude’s celebrated mezzo-soprano, disappears after rehearsal one night with no hints as to what happened. Convinced that something sinister was at work, Sven becomes obsessed tracking down his wife. His hunt takes him through many of Trude’s unique buildings and interacting with some very odd characters. There is his son who is drifting away after the disappearance of Molly, a group of rebellious librarians whose leader lusted after Molly, a sunglasses wearing cop known as The Oracle, a music critic that speaks of Molly in acrostics in his articles, and of course the odd architecture of the city. In fact, as the novel progresses, Sven seems to only find peace communing with the mall, the central library, the opera house, and the assisted living home, all constructed by the eccentric architect, Bernhard.

While it may seem like and oddly constructed who-done-it, The Facades is more an existential stroll through a surreal land. Stylistically, Lundgren’s writing is simply compelling. With sentences laden with bizarre and delightful metaphors he works up the reader’s inquisitiveness in both the mystery of Molly and the oddities that makes up the city of Trude.   

To some, the ending may seem unsatisfactory in how Lundgren resolves the major questions brought up in the book. However, I feel that the ending is a perfect match for the tone set by Norberg’s persistent, yet absent-minded approach to his wife’s disappearance. Coming it at a relatively small 272 pages, this book would make an good and interesting weekend’s reading.

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