Friday, September 24, 2010

Noah's Turn by Ken Finkleman

In Noah's Turn, Noah is a 40-something TV writer, whose life is in a rut. His wealthy aunt is close to dying and while he waits for his inheritance, he drinks and thinks about his next lay. His friend Patrick McEwen has suddenly become a huge literary success, which now matches his over-inflated ego. Noah lets his jealousy of Patrick get the better of him and ends up doing something that will definitely bring about change.

I really enjoyed this book. I read it over several days, but it's really appealing enough (and short enough) to read in one sitting. While it's mostly a dark comedy, it does sport some serious reflections on life. Written entirely from Noah's post of view, this really is his story from how he feels about himself and others to his desires and state of mind before and after his deed. My one complaint is that I wanted the book to be longer. At 231 pages, it seemed so short. I could have easily read about Noah for another 100 pages. I sort of wish that the author went a little further with the story that the Hobson girl wrote and how Noah reacted to it.

The author mentions Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and I'm sure there are some comparisons/contrasts one could draw from that. While I find it interesting, I'm just not that familiar with the novel to do so. I'm also not that analytical.

This novel does feature some sex, violence and offensive language. I've read a lot worse, but those sensitive to those kinds of things should be prepared. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that fans of Finkleman's wouldn't be surprised at the content.

Favourite quotes:
Time is the most democratic of all laws. We're all treated equally. (page 208)

Noah had always imagined the gap between sanity and insanity to be a vast no-man's land like the complex of walls and wire and cameras and searchlights and electric current that divided Cold War East and West Berlin. But now he realized that the gap was no wider than a chalk mark that could be crossed with a forehand tennis stroke. Sanity and insanity, he now thought, lived cheek by jowl and allowed those on either side to pass freely without questions or papers. In Noah's case, all it took was a decision to cross the line. It was simply a matter of will. (page 116-117)

New word:
hagiography (page 137): biography of a saint or one that reveres its subject

I hadn't heard of Finkleman before, but I probably should have. He has an extensive resume as a writer, producer and actor. I'm going to keep my eye out and see if I can catch some of his TV/film work.

Recommended. For his fans, for fans of Canadian fiction and for those looking for a pretty good dark comedy.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.

Noah's Turn by Ken Finkleman, HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9781554687527(Hardcover), 234p.

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