Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review - The Realm of Last Chances

Another book bites the dust. Steve Yarbrough is an author who I enjoy very much, and he published a new novel last year while I wasn't paying much attention to fiction books. The Realm of Last Chances (Borzoi/Alfred A Knopf, 2013, 272 pages) is the story of Cal and Kristin Stevens, a middle aged couple struggling with a failing relationship, career prospects that are spiraling downward, and a move from California to New England.

I liked this book quite a bit, and got through it in a few days. Yarbrough is always an easy read, and this was no exception. Thematically, it is very similar to his other works that I have read, and that, if anything, would be my only complaint. The flawed characters and their struggles were familiar ground, and while the setting may have changed from the deep South to Massachusetts, it didn't read very differently.

I always find Yarbrough's writing to be full of telling observations and finely crafted passages. The Realm of Last Chances did not disappoint, although I was too intent on reading to note pages...

"The process by which small pleasures had lost their power to deliver happiness was as mysterious to him as ever - maybe even  more mysterious, since their value now seemed so essential that only a fool could fail to grasp it." (p. 148)

Even if the material was similar to his other stuff, it was a great read. And what's the point in having favorite authors if you can't be pretty sure you are going to like their next work.

4 stars out of 5. Very good.

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