Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Review - There Must be Some Mistake

It's been a while since my last reading binge (fiction reading, that is). However, I was in a bookstore a little while back, and saw a new novel (There Must Be Some Mistake, Little Brown and Co, 2014, 294 pages) by Frederick Barthelme, a writer who I have read before. I picked it up, plowed through it, and finished it a few days ago.

This is the story of Wallace Webster, a semi-retiree living in a condo development in the Gulf Coast area of east Texas. The residents of the condo development begin dying at an alarming rate, to accidents and other circumstances. We follow Webster through this maze of events as he deals with his ex-wife, her boyfriend (who happens to be the ex-husband of a younger female work friend whom he spends a lot of time with and has an...odd...relationship), his daughter and others.

I found the novel similar to the three previous Barthelme books I have read (Waveland, Elroy Nights and Second Marriage); which revolve around a not-overly-sympathetic aging male character thrown into all sorts of odd circumstances. Barthelme's characters can be head-scratching in their thought process and frustrating in the choices they make, but are for the most part interesting to read.

This is a solid if unspectacular read. Maybe 3.5 stars out of 5. The ending was bizarre, even given what had come before...

Next up...I've begun another older Barthelme book I had on hand (Two Against One, 1988).

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