Monday, May 22, 2023

Notes On Why I Read "Notes On An Execution"

I read Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka, because I am interested in the author's agent. And that is why I am mentioning this book here. It's part of my shifting my world view from children's writing to adult writing. 

Also, a couple of interesting things happened while I was reading it.

First, Notes On An Execution involves a number of women over a long period of time who are all connected to a murderer. Their stories are interspersed with the events of the murderer's execution day. I don't think I'm giving anything away here. It's all in the title.

Well, I started reading the book, and I found a section related to a mother of sons just too painful. I decided I wasn't going to read the book, which I had borrowed through an e-book service, and I returned it.

The very next day I saw on Twitter that Danya Kukafka had won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Notes On An Execution. The award was announced the night before. She won this award at around the same time I was returning her book to the library.

Book awards often aren't that big a draw for me. However, the timing of this one was so uncanny that I decided to borrow the e-book again. I'm very glad I did, because this is an exceptional book. 

However, I was reading it in bed one night, hit another mother/son section and was up until around 4 AM unable to sleep. To be honest, I had also started an antibiotic that had insomnia as a side effect, so it could have been that. But I would advise any mothers of sons to not read this before going to bed.

Earlier this month, I attended a presentation by two agents who talked about some different categories of fiction. As a result, I'm going to suggest that Notes On An Execution is not a traditional genre work, meaning, in this case, mystery, but a genre work that leans literary or high concept. The book is not, after all, a who done it, since, again, it's in the title, but a why done it. It's literary because of the significance of character development. It's high concept in that the story keeps coming back to the murderer's execution day, and there is a great deal of compassion for every character.

It really is an impressive work. But moms with boys, remember not to read it before going to bed.

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