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Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Mystery
Fossum’s story is in two parts interspersed throughout the book: the author’s conversations with her character, a helplessly needy, whiny man; and his story as she unfolds it, in which this man becomes slightly more functional and independent. While the psychology of the split may interest some, others may find the first part an interruption bordering on irritating, especially as the action picks up in the second part and the character is thrown a number of intriguing obstacles and challenges.
An author is woken up in the middle of the night by one of her characters, a man who has jumped ahead in the long line of characters outside the author’s house, waiting for her to write their stories. This man, eventually named Alvar Eide, cannot wait anymore, and the author agrees to compose his story. He is, she decides, 42 years old and single and works in an art gallery. He keeps to himself, avoiding most human contact, until the day a bone-thin teenage drug addict comes into the gallery from the cold, and he brings her a cup of coffee. She comes back repeatedly, every few weeks or so, and then suddenly appears at his front door asking for money. (HARCOURT, Aug., 272 pp., $25.00)
Reviewed By: Michelle Wiener
Published: August 2010