Monday 6 October 2008

BOOK REVIEW: Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz

Stylish, emotionally intense book. Easy to read and captivating, I found myself drawn to the tragic “villain” Dwight. It's always a sign of excellent characterisation when one finds oneself empathising against one's better judgment with the "bad guy". All characters – even the dog Sallie – were well drawn. I cared about, or at least recognised, every character.

Lyrical language such as “the sky was faltering” added to the atmosphere of a gathering storm. There was not a wasted word in this book; every word was packed with emotion. The inexorable spiral of events spinning out of control for each of the characters had me reading faster than I could turn the pages.

The ending was slightly abrupt; it could have been fleshed out without losing any of its impact and providing a more permanent sense of order restored. Plot was straightforward, but fast paced, with interesting connections that added to the tension.

A compelling and, at times, deeply haunting read.


Fiction Junky said...

Is this the one from which a recent movie was made? About a guy who killed a boy in a hit-and-run? If so, good on you for reading it, but this is not my cup of tea! :-O

Ann Victor said...

yes, FJ, that's the one! Starring (swoon) Jaoquim Phoenix as Ethan, the father of the child killed. Read some reviews that he played the role too forcefully for it to work (in the book Ethan is a Professor of Literature). The movie didn't stay on the circuit very long which, when I felt the emotional punch of the book, surprised me.