Sunday, September 14, 2008

Maybe You Can Be Too Ambitious

The Postcard by Tony Abbott includes a couple of elements I find very interesting. Jason, our main character, ends up searching for his dead grandmother's history. I'm definitely into the whole personal past thing. Jason stumbles upon excerpts of a '40s and '50s era noir mystery that may or may not include an account of events in his grandmother's life. I like a little noir every now and then, so I was attracted to that.

I didn't feel that all the elements in this book were well connected, though. Abbott is the author of Firegirl, a book that stayed focused on one situation and delved into the intense suffering of the characters dealing with it. The Postcard covers too many situations. Mom and Dad's marriage is in trouble. Dad has personal problems that may relate to his childhood and his own mother. The search for Jason's grandmother didn't need any of that. It was interesting enough all by itself. It did, though, become extremely complicated given that a lot of it is told through the chapters of a mystery novel that may be totally fabricated or may not. Jason ends up jumping through hoops following clues that I know I would have totally missed. We find out that there was a mind at work behind the mystery, though I was never certain why he didn't just come forward.

In an interview regarding The Postcard at cynsations, Tony Abbott called the book a "magical realist noir crime comedy mystery." I wonder if that's just too much to try to do in one book.

The Postcard did make me want to go to Florida, though.

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