419 – Will Ferguson


“The human memory is a salamander, though; it squiggles from point to point, slaloms its way improbably up walls and across ceilings.  A ripple of colour, appearing and disappearing at the same momentum an orange head trailing a fluid blue body.  Had she dreamed that?  It seemed more memory than dream.  No story based on human memory was ever linear.  Memories folded back on themselves.  They clustered, they clotted.”

Holy shit.  What a book to end 2014 with, my final Bookstravaganza read.  I can see why this won a Giller – despite being one of the longest books I read this month, it took me a very short time to read because of its suspenseful, thrilling nature.

For much of this book, my thoughts predominantly focused on the whole idea of falling for internet scams.  Just how gullible do you have to be to think any part of them is legitimate?  Watching the father and his family go through that was absolutely heart-wrenching, namely because I just wanted to grab him and shake him and ask how someone could be so stupid.  But then, the novel turned into a story of interwoven threads, lives, and destinies, and as everything came together I realized it wasn’t as clean-cut a story as a dumb old man falling for an internet scam and his family paying the price invoked by Nigerian criminals.

I liked that Will Ferguson did not make villains out of his Nigerian characters (except Ironsi-Egoba, of course).  Everyone had equal faults and parts in the whole mess.  I had a hard time getting through some of the more sentimental scenes between Laura and her father for my own soppy reasons, but damn, Will Ferguson, you’ve got some dramatic writing chops (I’d only previously read humorous pieces by him).

For the past two Bookstravaganzas  I’ve been a part of, I read 10 books per round, though my goal has always been 15.  This year, I read 21, which is basically the sum of the past two years, and my goal was also 15.  Reading that much is hard.  Really hard.  I tried to maintain my yoga classes, my social life, my Christmas plans AND on top of it all, I got a puppy, all amidst reading every last word my brain could allow.   I am happy with my 21 total, and as of right now, it looks like I might just be runner-up to first place, which is an accomplishment I can live with.

Better yet, is the accomplishment that as of this post, we have raised $685 for Welcome Baby.  That’s a sizeable amount of money.  I’m proud of us, team.  Though we all get into our competitive streaks, how we’ve helped our community is what matters in the end.  For those of you who have donated or cheered us on by reading our reviews, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  For your efforts, here is a picture of the most adorable puppy on the planet.

Leika, my 8 week old puppy.

Leika, my 8 week old puppy.

Total books: 21


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