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infinitejoe

Infinite Joe

I like challenging books that make you think, and leave you happy that you did. Typically, I find character driven literary fiction the most satisfying, although I in no way think of myself as a serious literary critic.

Currently reading

Unaccustomed Earth
Jhumpa Lahiri
Progress: 282/333 pages

Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies - Paul Murray This book was a solid 4-stars throughout the first two parts. I thought the story and the writing were both very satisfying, and although I felt connected with the characters, I thought the author might not have been going deep enough. Well, parts I and II turned out to be a set-up for part III, character-wise, which pushed this book into the 5-star territory for me.

This book seemed to have so much packed into it, yet it seemed well contained, and never sloppy or overflowing.

- Surviving (or not surviving) adolescence, and all the issues dealt with during this time, socially, romantically, etc.
- Self-interest and self-preservation of the individual and the group.
- Solipsism. Looking out only for yourself. Doing good to be liked for doing good.
- Cover-ups involving people we are supposed to trust (Catholic Church parallel).
- The difficulty in truly connecting with the world around you.

These are some of the many themes visited in the book.

Love, or the absence of love, or at least the immense complicatedness of it, is also another:

"Mother loves Ruprecht. Lori loves Skippy. God loves everybody. The hear people talk, you would think no one ever did anything but love each other. But when you look for it, when you search out this love everyone is always talking about, it is nowhere to be found; and when someone looks for love from you, you find you are not able to give it, you are not able to hold the trust and dreams they want you to hold, any more than you could cradle water in your arms. Proposition: love, if it exists at all, does so as an organizing myth, of a similar nature to God."

Apparently, the jacket of this book likens it to Harry Potter and Infinite Jest. Similar to and yet very, very different from these two books (it is much more accessible than IJ to the everyday reader, for example), Skippy Dies stands apart on its own merit, and I would recommend it to anyone.