Fall From Grace, Wayne Arthurson

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I did not read as many books as I’d hoped to this weekend. An abundance of whisky, a whisky-induced headache, and a broken-down car (not related to the whisky) made for an unproductive couple of days. I cleaned my apartment, though, and I’m counting that as a small victory.

I don’t read many mystery or crime novels, yet for some reason my Bookstravaganza stack has two of them – and they’re both by Edmonton authors. What’s up with that? It was 40 below on Friday, and I think I need reminding of why we stay. For local mystery authors. That is the sole reason.

Arthurson touches on some of the other reasons in this novel, and that’s frankly the best thing about it. I love those little bits of Edmontonia, being able to trace a character’s path down 99th St or follow them through an industrial park. There’s an attention to detail here that I appreciate. However, I made the rookie mistake of reading this immediately after Nabokov. Compared to Nabokov, everything is terrible.

If I could acknowledge my prejudices for a moment – I don’t know if my overwhelming preference for mid-century Russian authors explains away all my misgivings about this book. While I like the protagonist, Leo Desroches, well enough, I found that his motivations were practically handed to me. There’s a tendency towards telling instead of showing in Fall From Grace, and as Ted Bishop told me again and again and again: that’s not what you want to do. As a fun foray into a genre I don’t typically read, I liked it well enough, but I’m not completely sold.

Books Read: 11

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