Monday, July 23, 2012
The novel opens by revealing what appears to be the narrative climax: the committing of a robbery, followed by a multiple murder. In this sense, Ford sets up the story as a mystery, the details of which the novel slowly unfolds. But what distinguishes this story from a traditional mystery is that our narrator, Dell, is ever-present as an innocent victim in both crimes. Further, the initial robbery, committed by Dell's parents, serves as a catalyst for the circumstantial events that thereafter define his life--transforming this work into a sort of character autobiography. Dell, a well-functioning adult, gathers the pieces of his memory, his mother's prison journals, and his own curiosity to recount the events from his childhood which ultimately lead to his tormented self-actualization.
Ignore the quiet, unassuming cover; Ford's storytelling, and his narrator's philosophizing, will stick with you.