About this time last year DH sent me John Vorhaus’s first novel California Roll. It’s a funny, slickly plotted, camp-as-Christmas crime novel about con artists and their marks. He wrote a piece for the When We Fell In Love Series about Tom Robbins, which is fitting enough, since if you tied Tom Robbins to a wobbly chair under a bare lightbulb and told him to reproduce Richard Stark’s Parker series, you’d probably get something an awful lot like California Roll.
I want to write reviews that are unclouded by my personal feelings for the publisher or the writer. Literary friendships feel fundamentally wrong to me, in the context of my wanting to be a serious reader (by which I don’t mean a reader of serious literature, but a person who reads books seriously), especially in that I want to review the books that I read.
Happy now? Not as happy as you’ll be when you finally pick a copy and read it. To that end, the gracious folks at Random House have provided Three Guys One Book five copies to give away to our readers. To win a copy simply comment on this post, and I’ll pick five winners at random on Monday morning.
I think the books that mean a lot to us are intensely personal, and when they are associated with moments of change or enormous importance, they become relics of our lives. I remember, for instance, exactly where I was while I was reading Jane Eyre, my first grown-up novel, and to me it will always mean sitting alone at lunchtime in the garden of the British school in Cairo, and finding out that we were moving to America.
I’m also a big fan of novels that extend the story to cover the children, friends and neighbors of the central characters. When I read I’m not the atomic kid. If I start a novel and can see that it’s only going to be about one or two characters (that’s what I mean by “atomic”) then I’m not interested.