Friday, February 26, 2010

14. Thanksgiving by Michael Dibdin

It's been a while since I read Michael Dibdin. His Aurelio Zen books are required reading for any contemporary mystery fans as he is one of the better writers in this genre in the last 20 years. Sadly, he passed away quite suddenly and too early at the age of 60 in 2007.

Thanksgiving isn't really a crime novel, but more like actual literature (gasp!). It's about a guy whose wife dies. He goes back to pick up some of the missing pieces of her past, ostensibly to deal with her estate, but as the book moves forward you see that he is more just driven by his grief and kind of moving around randomly. There is a death in the book, with which the protagonist is tangentially involved and suspected, but it's secondary (almost a distraction, I'd say) and is wiped off the slate in the last part of the book. It's here that I realized that once again I'd found another book that doesn't really have a story. It's much more a study of one man's grief and all the ways it affects him. It's actually quite touching and interesting and seemed very realistic, but I thirsted for story! He is such a good writer, that his portrayal of the various characters and especially the interesting locations (a desert trailer, a Marin county bar, a french country chalet in winter) are excellent and kept me engaged. A very good book if you like this sort of thing.

1 comment:

caropops said...

I actually thought this was soft-core porn both for sex and violence, one of his worst efforts. Describing in detail what happens when you die in a plane crash was horrifically creepy, if true, and the endless sex with his wife, well. I did like the line when he first meets her and suggests they get together and she says, (every man's wet dream imho) Let's see how the sex goes and then we can see...