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Friday, November 27, 2009

Saint John of the Five Boroughs by Edward Falco (Book Review)


Title: Saint John of the Five Boroughs
Author: Edward Falco

Publisher: Unbridled Books

About the book: When 22-year-old Avery Walker, a senior at Penn State, meets Grant Danko, a 37-year-old performance artist from Brooklyn whose stage name is Saint John of the Five Boroughs, her life changes radically as she leaves college to live with Grant in Brooklyn and pursue a life as an artist. Worried about Avery, her mother, Kate, and her aunt, Lindsey, and Lindsey's husband, Hank, travel to Brooklyn, where they all face a crisis of their own and make life-altering choices.

Avery's boyfriend, Grant Danko, carries dark secrets within him that have caused his life to go off the rails. Grant is about as lost as a man can get, adept at making bad choices. But when he finally faces his moment of explosive truth, something extraordinary happens.

Saint John of the Five Boroughs is beautifully turned, a stunning and layered novel about the effects of violence, both personal and cultural, on its characters' lives. It's about the way violence twists character, but also about the possibilities for redemption and change, for achieving a kind of personal grace. Edward Falco once again proves to be a master of urgency and suspense, of events careening out of control, as he brilliantly explores why we make the choices we make -- both the ones that threaten to destroy our lives, and those choices that might save us. (back cover)

My thoughts: Normally I like to give my own synopsis of a book, but I waited too long to write this review and I didn't want to forget any details. It was also before I started jotting down notes which I have been trying to do lately. But anyway - this book was very good in making you believe that these people were just "lost" in life. They were going through the motions, but it seemed like they were letting life happen to them, rather than making life happen. And not everything that happens is good - to be honest, most of what happens is pretty depressing - but it was also pretty realistic. The end of the book took me by surprise - and it was when they finally made a choice for themselves about where they wanted their life to go. This was a good book, the characters were interesting - I kept picturing an old boyfriend as Grant because of his restlessness and inability to achieve anything. (Guess that is why he became an old boyfriend.) I am not sure that I even liked either Grant or Avery at the beginning of the book - but sometimes not likely the characters keeps you reading, because you want them to redeem themselves. By the end of the book I had started to understand them a little more and was actually cheering them on.

About the author: Edward Falco grew up in Brooklyn and teaches at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he is director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. He is the prize-winning author of several books including his new and selected stories, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha and, most recently, the highly acclaimed novel Wolf Point. (back cover)

Saint John of the Five Boroughs
Publisher/Publication Date: Unbridled Books, October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-932961-88-1
424 pages




*This book was provided to me for my unbiased review by Caitlin at Unbridled Books.*

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book since my son's a student at Tech. Thanks for the review.

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