NPR’s book reviewer Roscrans Baldwin (huh? is that a great name or what for a book critic?) talked about this book early September, so when it arrived in libraries I requested it. I’m more than halfway through and it lives up to expectations: the sentences and paragraph structure are so remarkably different from straightforward narrative, that you wish you were a college student and not a college professor (because then you could write a paper about the book instead of grading 100 econ midterms… they’re fun too but the sentence structures, well, enough said). Duplex is a formidable short novel. From the acknowledgments it appears to have been formed as a set of vignettes. They are interrelated. Time, characters, everything is in flux. On first read it is very difficult to follow. (Especially when reading one chapter each night.) But I get the feeling that if I spend more time with it, there is lots underneath. For me it is rare that I read books that while reading I say to myself, I am going to read this again more slowly. Of course, I haven’t finished the first read, so who knows, maybe there will be a large alien-meteorite on an ice-packed island that explains everything at the end (Smilla’s Sense of Snow, anyone?)
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