Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I've been doing a lot of bookporn at my Livejournal, but never here. Well, time to eleminate this omission. How about a shelfporn? Parker shelfporn?

Here you go.

On the photos you see my collection of Richard Stark books, Parker and Grofield novels. It's a mix of American and British hardcover editions. I have a complete set of hardcovers of Parker novels of the second run, starting with Comeback.

On the photo you see only a few PBOs, I have more but they're not this shelf yet (and some are on their way already). I have 13 signed copies (last time I checked if I remember correctly), but I never show signatures on photo - it's sort of a bad luck.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Last Banquet

Jonathan Grimwood
The Last Banquet

Europa Editions, 2013

The protagonist of this novel is an orphan, Jean-Marie Charles d’Aumout, whose parents have died of hunger: they were aristocrats, but for the debts everything had been taken from them. After their death, little Jean-Marie lived by himself, alone, eating insects and herbs, until he was picked up in 1723 by some aristocrats and sent to an orphanage, where Jean-Marie was fed twice a day and kept in the barn. At seven, he goes to St. Luke's School, with the children of titular officials of France. There the boys also live and study science. Jean-Marie’s best friend becomes Emile Duras, whose father was a lawyer. In the course of training, Jean-Marie secretly learns to cook different dishes from the most unlikely ingredients, from mice to cats. The boy from an early age has developed a taste, and he is always in pursuit of new flavors.

When Jean-Marie has the opportunity to select desired profession, he chooses to be a cook. He is allowed to work in the kitchen to help chefs, learn new recipes. Ahead of the protagonist lays a long eventful life.

The novel has been compared to Suskind’s Perfume, but I haven’t read Perfume, so I can not compare them. What The Last Banquet reminded me is it's like a mix between Victor Hugo with an adventure novel by Jules Verne. Before us is really entertaining historical fiction, full of real characters, not boring at all and quite clever.

Style of the book is one of its biggest advantages. Usually this kind of literature suffers from historicisms, stylization to literature of the past, and, therefore, such literature is hard to grasp. It is clumsy, slow, pompous, it smells musty. Fantasist Grimwood writes fiction, on the contrary, easily, skillfully, adding to the authenticity of it here and there the French word, archaic expression, historical detail. So we does not forget that the events are taking place in the XVIII century, but it does not take away from the novel its lightness and elasticity.

Grimwood remains a fantasy writer, skillfully alternating between adventures and amorous affairs. There is a lot of adventures for the main character and his friends from the dog's execution to the final with a tigress. Events are rushing gallop, you would’nt have time to yawn. The protagonist of the novel, Jean-Marie, is an interesting character. He feels very keenly the world, wanting to know everything that this world has to offer. Orphan, who became Marquis, try the taste animals, insects, women, developing his taste - gastronomic. But this novel has not converged on a wedge of gastronomy. The desire to know everything through a tongue is just one of the desires of the Marquis. He just has a zest for life. He is pulled to the animals, to women, to nature, to politics, to philosophy, but he seemed to be indifferent to their own children. Jean-Marie is a controversial person: on the one hand, he quickly becomes bored of the old things like he was bored of his wife, on the other, he remains faithful for many years – he’s loyal to friends, the tigress, his king.

If Grimwood had put events of the book in a fictional country, not in France, in front of us there would be a fantasy. But Grimwood has chosen the path of the historical novel. And it is still quite tasty.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Harry Bosch Novels: Volume 1

Michael Connelly
The Harry Bosch Novels: Volume 1

Little, Brown, 2001

This book consists of the first three novels about a Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch, including the Connelly’s debut The Black Echo. Each of the three novels is a stand-alone, but reading in a row, you can see how all three are fused into one common narrative about the life of Bosch.

Bosch, at first glance, is quite ordinary detective: he didn’t know his father, his mother was killed when he was a child, then he wandered around the foster homes, then the Vietnam War, the LAPD patrol, and up the career ladder, to the elite RHD. However, after one incident, IAD became interested in Bosch: Harry shot an unarmed serial killer. Disciplinary action had followed, and instead of RHD Bosch had been sent to a homicide table in Hollywood. Not the most original biography, if not for one "but": Bosch is a sort of private detective in LAPD, he is an outsider, a foreign body in the command line. His own lieutenant despises him, he has no friends in the division, and the IAD wants to nail Bosch forever.

Was Bosch among the first outsider detectives inside the police department? Hardly. However, the attractiveness of novels about Bosch is largely in the fact that it is non-standard mystery stories under the guise of police protsedurals. Connelly spent several years as a crime reporter at LA Times, hence the authenticity of the details. Description of Homicide in work is phenomenal. LAPD-geeks will squeal with delight (which is what I did while reading this 800+ pages).

But Harry is working ouside of a police structure. It is not something that he would not trust, but he has his own methods. Although Bosch is at odds with the Internal Affairs (especially in The Black Echo), he rare breaks the law. Bosch solves the most puzzling cases, often those where corruption is involved, but he does so not by knocking out the truth with his fists, but thanks to his extraordinary efficiency. Bosch knows that the management structure of the department always hinders the investigation, and in addition often chooses the easy way out. Bosch doesn’t care, it is convenient or not for the department.

Plots of all three novels - The Black Echo, The Black Ice and The Concrete Blonde - are puzzling stories, with double or even triple bottom, with a moderate share of persecution and shootings, and The Black Echo’s plot is at all close to perfection. The Black Echo tells the story of a bank robbery, The Black Ice - the distribution of a new kind of drug, and The Concrete Blonde brings us back to background story of The Black Echo, regarding the serial killer nicknamed the Dollmaker. And I can responsibly say that The Concrete Blonde is the best novel about a serial killer I have ever read.

As much as it may sound strange, but sometimes Connelly’s style reminded me the style of Richard Stark, creator of the Parker novels. Bosch and Parker are on opposite sides of the law, and I’m not sure, put them both into one book, would Bosch be able to catch Parker. But the mechanics of the thoughts of their characters Connelly and Stark describe similar.

«When he was done, many of the gaps were closed. Meadows served a total of six and a half years in the federal pen. He was paroled in early 1988, when he was sponsored by the Charlie Company program. He spent ten months in the program before moving to the apartment in Sepulveda. Parole reports showed he secured a job as a drill operator in the gold mine in the Santa Clarita Valley. He completed parole in February 1989 and he quit his job a day after his PO signed him off. No known employment since, according to the Social Security Administration. IRS said Meadows hadn't filed a return since 1988.

Bosch went into the kitchen and got a beer out and made a ham and cheese sandwich. He stood by the sink eating and drinking and trying to organize things about the case in his head. He believed that Meadows had been scheming from the time he walked out of TI, or at least Charlie Company. He'd had a plan. He worked legitimate jobs until he cleared parole, and then he quit and the plan was set into action. Bosch felt sure of it. And he felt that it was therefore likely that, at either the prison or the halfway house, Meadows had hooked up with the men who had burglarized the bank with him. And then killed him.»

Six months ago, I thought that Michael Connelly’s books are commercial fiction, mediocre airplane reading. But now, three novels later, it can be said that Connelly is an unbelievably great talent.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Notorious Life by Madame X

Kate Manning
My Notorious Life by Madame X

Bloomsbury, 2013

My Notorious Life by Madame X is a very lively story about how to make your way from the bottom. The novel is written without a gram of sentimentality or ridiculous baby talk about orphans. If you're an orphan, and you became someone, well done. If not - sorry, no luck. For the fact that you're an orphan, you won’t get bonuses from luck.

With the abundance of details, as here, the novel deserves to be called not only historical, but also manufacturing. We are witnessing the birth of not an ordinary for its time business, its formation, alteration, enlargement. At that time women rarely did business, and here it is well documented: Annie herself, the main character, is engaged in only one aspect of the business, all the documentation is the work of her husband. We will be shown the figures, secrets, fragments of ads, examples of recipes - complete authenticity (though you can’t really check it). Annie is an admiration. How she finds a way out of the difficult situations, how she takes difficult decisions, how she is driven by money first, but later by the senses.

In addition to the unusual success story the novel offers even to speculate on difficult topics, among them the issue of abortion. Annie makes the choice, based on her challenging life experience. The fate of women is not easy: the missing at the time contraception forced women to give birth and give birth, until she died. Annie saw the death of her mother, saw the suffering of many women. Under her skin is so ingrained fear that she was afraid of not only pregnancy, but also sex, which can bring pleasure, but can result in pregnancy - that is pain, and possibly death. Annie chooses death - but death for lifeless. She makes abortion in early pregnancy cases to save the life of an adult. For her, this is not the question, the answer is already there - a woman is to live.

Changes occur not only in the life of the heroine, but in the novel’s style. As a resident of the bottom, Annie at the beginning of the book speaks poor English, making mistakes in times and single words (well, she uses strong language as well). But gradually Annie’s language improves, errors disappear, but salty phrases, however, remain. It is worth noting the author's discovery: many of foul language and all words related to pregnancy has written as a self-censorship. For example, pregnancy is written as p*******y, and miscarriage as m*sc*****ge.

The novel entertaines and keeps in suspense until the very end, and raises difficult issues. Historical novel is alive. Praise to Madame X.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blues in the Night

Dick Lochte
Blues in the Night

Severn House, 2012

After his release from prison, Dave Mason nicknamed Mace lives in his father's house in the swamps of Louisiana, unless he gets a call from Los Angeles from his an old acquaintance, crime boss Paulie Lacotta. Mace is to partnered up with Wylie, a relative of Lacotta, and together with an inexperienced partner Mace should watch Angela, the former girlfriend of Paulie, which seems to take the side of Lacotta’s competitor Tiny Daniels. After several days of surveillance Mace does not find anything suspicious in Angela’s actions, until suddenly he is threatened by a pair of hitmen (one of them looks like Elvis Presley, only with the brain of a five year old child). Mace saves himself from the murderous men, but Wiley is less fortunate: Mace finds him dead in a room from where Mace watched the subject. Mace understands that Lacotta withheld from him some of the circumstances of the case.

Mace for all his skills and abilities is nominally not a private investigator, although Blues in the Night was nominated to Shamus Award for Best Novel. Mace even has some intersection with the well-known Californian private detective Jim Rockford from The Rockford Files: they are both from California, both ex-cons, but on this the similarities end. Rockford is an example of proper socialization compared to Mason, who do not have either friends nor significant ties.

Mace is well aware that he is working for a person from the criminal world, but it does not bother him. He missed the action, and where else can you get it, if not in LA. Lochte after the locally-paced beginning throws in the elements of international intrigue and dark behind the scenes of show business. Among the villains here are Russian mafia.

The plot is flying like a bullet, and Mace has to understand the intricacies of the difficult affair, in which he got himself involved. Toward the middle of the novel you even begin to think ере Lochte has overdone with twists and suspects: the characters begin to run around too much and think too little. But to the end the situation is improving.

The only my concern was the negligence of the author to reconstructing the image of the Russian mafia. They are cartoon villains, and have even non-existent names. The main boss named Max Brox, and his mercenaries Gulik and Klebek. Lochte very colorful and accurately describes Los Angeles, he can spend a little time on the reconciliation of the names.

«Mace moved past the carbo-pounders to a side exit leading to an outdoor patio behind the main building. It had once been the Egg's busiest spot, but the bravery that allowed The Killer Cafe's patrons to ignore the mug shots of murderers evidently did not extend to a more mundane threat like skin cancer. Most of the tables were unoccupied, even those under the protective cover of faded red umbrellas.»

Mason apparently enters the pantheon of LA detectives as one of the best.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Man Who Died Laughing

David Handler
The Man Who Died Laughing

Open Road Media/Mysterious Press e-book, 2012
(originally published in 1988)

A part of Friday Forgotten Books

Stewart Hoag was once literary star number one, with big money contracts, an actress wife and world fame. But after the debut novel Hoag hasn’t written anything else, and the fame and money was blown away by the wind. Hoag was left with nothing: his wife is gone, impotence and alcohol problems had started, and only a dog Lulu stayed with him. The agent, however, did not forget about Hoag and after several years of neglect has thrown up job for a writer. The job is not about the book under his own name anymore - Hoag was hired as ghostwriter for writing a biography of the former film and TV star Sonny Day.

Day has a lot in common with the Hoag: no one is interested in him anymore, no one offers him any roles, and Day almost lost contact with his family, and the only thing that's left of his past is money. Hoag has to write the biography of the comic and uncover his main secret: why Sonny had once quarreled with his colleague and friend Knight in the late fifties, so much so that Day and Knight have since could not stand each other.

Not every day you have a chance to read books with a ghostwriter as the main character, and Hoagy (as he asks to be called) is a nice addition to the collection of cops, private investigators and other characters with detective abilities and needs. But the murder will happen closer to the finale, and before that we have a chance to enjoy clever dialogues (take into account that part of the book consists of transcribed interviews by Hoagy with Day, and those who knew him) and the fictional life of the former movie star. Handler with great success recreates the life path of a fictional movie comic star, and one can hardly believe that Sonny Day is not a real historical figure, but figment of the imagination of Handler. But when the murder happenes, mystery lovers will not be disappointed.

The Man Who Died Laughing is Handler's debut novel and the first book about Stewart Hoag. More please.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Chloe Aridjis

Chatto & Windus, 2013

Marie, the narrator of this story, is a museum guard at the London National Gallery. She tries to be discreet around, silently pacing the halls. Marie dresses in a gray uniform, being away from the public and art objects. She is responsible to see that no one is coming too close to the exhibits. But for her nine-year career she rarely had to raise her voice and pull up some of the visitors.
Marie is living with a woman named Jane, a public relations manager of a small record label. They are not a friends, simply share the apartment. In the evening, Marie is engaged in her art project, building a miniature landscape of eggshells and dead moths. On weekends, Marie walks alone, inspecting various parts of London, walking through the market, sometimes meet with a few friends.
Among them is Daniel, a middle-aged former museum guard with an interesting history. He and Marie met, both being as security guards, but Daniel later was fired because he created a lot of noise when walking.

The novel plot consists of the individual vignettes, scenes, thoughts of the heroine of the book. Here dies suddenly at work Marie’s colleague, 69-year-old security guard. Marie and Jane win the lottery ticket with a prize of a trip to a strange cathedral town. They are staying at the hotel, but at the first night there they notice a madman outside who knocks on the window. One of the most striking parts of the book is Marie’s memories of her great-grandfather Ted, who also worked as a museum guard.

The life of the protagonist, Marie, a straight line with a minimum of vibrations/events, but the book is glued together from fragments of life, each of which could be a separate novella. Almost missing plot of the novel is a reflection of the special eventness of the world of Asunder. There is not a driving force, which usually drags the novel forward, but that does not mean that the novel is static.

Chloe Aridjis created a world of modern London, but such one that it seems unreal. Almost all of the events of the book take place in the mind of the protagonist, and London is the continuation of the heroine, not a separate space. Aridjis inserts details in the novel, pointing to the fact that the action takes place in our time, but all the time it seems that this novel is a fantasy, and everything that happens happens in a parallel world. This contributes to the Gothic elements of individual vignettes, such as: visit to the French chateau, the history of imprisonment of a suffragette or even Marie’s hobby.

Otherworldliness of the plot is also due to the fact that Marie almost doesn’t communicate with anyone in the book. She has friends and acquaintances, she is valued at the gallery, she even corresponded with a criminal serving a sentence, but thiese relationships are not tortuous, but forced. Marie, it seems, does not need anybody, her communication to the world is purely an act of courtesy to the world: it asked, I answered. In the book there is a minimum of dialogue, and even when Marie is around someone, they do not always talk.

Asunder is a fascinating book about loneliness, which may have to be not to everyone's taste, but each certainly appreciate Aridjis’ seductive use of language. The novel does not give answers to questions about the nature of loneliness, it is only, as an object of art, shows a snapshot of reality, one that the author sees, and gives the reader to consider desirable in the created.

This book, like a unusual paiting, can be watched for hours - it is something close to perfection.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dream with Little Angels

Michael Hiebert
Dream with Little Angels

Kensington, 2013

The small town of Alvin, Alabama, 1987. The narrator of the story, the 11-year-old Abe, lives with his mother Leah Teal, a local police detective, and his older sister Carry, has a talkative friend Dewey, and a tendency to watch the neighbors. Strange neighbor is set aside when a 14-year-old girl, a student in a parallel class with Leah Teal’s daughter Carry, is missing. One day, after getting off the school bus, Mary Ann Dailey has not come home. Mother after a few hours is raising hell, alarming the police and all the inhabitants of the town. Teal and her colleagues are beginning to find the girl among her friends, hoping that Dailey just is just staying at a frind’s house. But on the first day the girl was not found.

Leah Teal takes the disappearance of Mary Ann Dailey close to heart. 12 years ago, when Teal was still new in the force, in Alvin also a teenage girl 13-year-old Ruby Mae Vickers had gone missing. The police worked hard, looking for Vickers, but found her only three months later. The body of a girl who was tortured and raped, was found by a local farmer near his home under a willow tree near the swamps. The murder remained unsolved, and Teal could not forgive hermself for the death of Ruby Mae.

After a while, Abe and his friend on the bike ride to a nearby town, and there meet black girl Tiffany Yates. She eats ice cream and chats with the boys. After talking to Tiffany, Abe and Dewey go back, and three hours later the girl's mother calls the police and reports the disappearance of her daughter.

Story that takes place in the South, is written by a Canadian Hiebert, and this story is not new: the killing of children by unknown perp, with background of racism and emotional tension throughout the city. Hiebert immediately determines the range of three suspects, although police can not find any evidence until near the end. Although the novel presents no major surprises, the intrigue is here, though not as close to a really nail-biting excitement.

The author’s diligent style and his storyteller’s talent is not supported by convincing describing of the life of the South and the cast of characters. Hiebert writes that Leah Teal works without sleep searching for the girl and\or her killer, but what she was doing, if there wasn’t any suspects and the obvious places have not been checked, is unclear. In addition, the presence of a detective in the town like Alvin, is doubtful. It is most likely that a number of detectives from the state capital would have been called for help. Helpless of Leah has confirmed that the case for her is actually solved by the 11-year-old child. That, in turn, is also unlikely.

Little Abe, of course, is smart for his age, but it is unlikely he would be able to unravel the complex case. Hiebert is trying to make him more adult, but even then, the boy seeing the dead bodies is yet not an evidence of that the child will be smarter than the team of experts. Hiebert comfortably made the narrator the son of the chief investigator, allowing the boy to overhear adult conversations at the police station. Though Abe is a sympathetic character, sharp-witted and kind boy, his speech is full of opposites. He spoeaks as a collega graduate, and then he speaks with the southern dialect and sounds like a uneducated child.

With dialogue here, there are too many inconsistencies. Characters speak the literary language, then suddenly begin to swallow the words and syllables, but so the whole laguage here can be called pseudosouth.

Against the background of the investigation sometimes racial issue flickers, and Hiebert handles this issue timidly. Every now and then we read the word "racist", but then, especially in the South, this word was used rarely and has yet become fashionable. And how is posible to be talking about racism, when in the book the author have never used the word "nigger" or “Negro”. It’s laughable.

Quite an interesting story here is ruined by a not credible background. And the atmosphere is sometimes more important than the plot.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Rage

Gene Kerrigan

Vintage UK, 2012

The Rage tells the parallel stories of three dissimilar people whose fates intersect at one point. Rage from the title of the book is a feeling that drives one of the heroes of the book. Vincent Naylor was released from prison ten days ago and is back in business. Naylor worked for a local small-time hood, but he did the time for assault. Being free, Naylor plans to quit his outbreaks of aggression and focus only on that unlawful deals that does not bring not as much jail time as money. Overheard a chatter of a former guard in taxi, Naylor immediately plans robbery of a armored truck. He takes his older brother, and two of his cronies in his team.

Another two story lines are related, but are not associated with the Naylor’s subplot. Detective Bob Tidy is completing all the loose ends in his investigations, when he is attached to a group of detectives working on the murder of a banker in his own home. Tidy, honest and conscientious cop, sometimes bends the law himself, visits a nun Maura Coady, when she reports something suspicious outside her window on the street.

All three lines intersect in the final, as it happens in the good books, though not completely. The Rage is only nominally police procedural: here there is a detective and the sensational murder, Tidy even finds some clues already closing to finding the killer. But the "police" part of the novel stands out in the sense that the main plot intersect with it only at a tangent. Kerrigan is not interested in a puzzle, but in the mechanics of the police work, in the relationships between higher ranks and ordinary detectives. On Tidy’s example it clearly shows that the initiative and insight are not welcome in police work.

But the main subplot with Naylor’s robbery presents a few surprises. Kerrigan has no illusions: most of the criminals are not geniuses, capable of impunity and leaving no trace, they are tough and cruel people, driven by their instincts and emotions. Naylor does not even dream that he will commit one crime after another and avoid prison. He only hopes that he would go to jail for something that will bring him satisfaction.

Against the plot twists and turns, Kerrigan puts into the mouths of his characters personal feelings about the fate of Ireland: the economy is falling apart, the banks have ruined the country, and all the people suffer. It is interesting that almost all the characters in the novel go the hard way through an economic decline - except Naylor. He just robs armored truck not because of a revenge to banks for the crisis in the economy, but simply because he had overheard a good plan for a robbery.

The Rage is head and shoulders above any contemporary British procedural. No rage, only sheer pleasure.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Busy Body

Donald Westlake
The Busy Body

Open Road Media/Mysterious Press eBook, 2011
(originally published in 1966)

Al Engel is the right hand of the New York crime boss Nick Rovito. Engel was once an ordinary hood in the organization (read: the syndicate) until he saved Rovito from the coup at the top.

«If it hadn't been for the Conelly blitzkrieg, Engel might have kept drifting along in the organization for years. But the Conelly blitzkrieg came along, and Engel was in the right place at the right time, and all of a sudden the kind of future his mother had been talking about for years was dumped in his lap. As his mother pointed out, all he had to do now was take the good things that were being offered him. He had it made.»

The boss gratefully placed Engel closer to himself. Since then, Engel did not touch the dirty work: the organization has ceased to use violence, focusing only on the business side. But Engel's hands stayed clean only until the boss gives him the job to dig a fresh grave of an ordinary drug courier Charlie, who had a “grand send-off”. It turned out that Charlie was buried in a blue jacket, in the lining of which had been left the package of heroin valued at $ 250,000. Engel at middle of the night has to dig the grave, get the jacket, again bury the grave, but at the same time to kill his digging assistant, low-level hood. But things go awry.

The Busy Body became one of the first three Westlake’s comic capers after a series of gritty books (under his own name and under the pseudonym Stark). However, I can not say that the previous books by Westlake were deprived of humor. Another thing is that in the first four author’s books he thought of his characters seriously. Al Engel of The Busy Body, for example, is not very different from the protagonist of The Cutie. Only the hero of this book has many different features, from the phone calls from his mother to relationships with women, when he becomes the object of ridicule (from the reader’s point of view).

The tone of the writing felt lighter, but the described gangster world remained the same, and the plot is quite viable, forcing flipping pages. What is very good: the novel rests on not giggle and occasional ha-ha, but on a twisted affair with a missing body. Westlake’s humor is situational, which is very conducive to the plot.

The Busy Body once again proves that Westlake did not write bad books.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Childish Loves

Benjamin Markovits
Childish Loves

Faber & Faber, 2011

This quasi-novel (quasi-memoir?) is written from the point of view of the writer Benjamin Markovits. With the real Markovits they share many biographical points, from his wife Caroline and children to the authorship of several novels. Childish Loves, it turns out, closes the trilogy, the first two of which were written by, of course, the real Markovits. But in this novel, the real authorship of these books belongs to Peter Sullivan. Two novel about the life of Lord Byron had been written by a private school teacher Sullivan, but during his lifetime his manuscripts were not published, and before his suicide Sullivan sent two complete unfinished manuscripts and a third to his former colleague Markowits in the hope of publication, because Markovits published several books himself.
Markovits character is Sullivan’s literary executor. After reading the two manuscripts, Markovits finds novels about Byron strange but strong and ready to see the publication. Markovits sends the manuscripts to his editor, and soon some publishing house releases a novel, the first, and then the second.

Markovits plays in this novel with reality and does it very skillfully. Conventional, as it seems, memoir of how a book is written, disguises as pseudonovel with "Benjamin Markovits" the character, but when this pseudonovel breaks out of the shell, inside it is the novel with a different protagonist, also a writer, who hides under the guise of a third writer, Byron, and he is not the original as well, but also a fictional character, as his diaries are just something like a novel simulation. Does this play with reality prevent the reader from the joy of reading? Not one bit.

Markovits is an experienced writer, able to control the situation. If he built a complex structure for the novel, he would do so that this structure would hold. Metaphysics of the book is that ordinary logic does not apply here. What is important is Markovits tells seemingly complicated story so with graceful and intelligible style that everything is transparent. It will not confuse even the most inexperienced reader.

Usually, if the main character in the book is a writer, then you can expect an endless stream of complaints about life or something like that. In Childish Loves there is minimum of whining, since the writer Markovits here is researcher, archivist, as first, and only then a writer, as second. Therefore, those who need plot in their reading will necessarily be satisfied: plenty of action in the book, there is a change of scenery, there is a mystery, of the man and the book.

But if part of the novel, written about "Markovits", is almost flawless, the insertion of Byron's diaries seem artificial. Fictional diaries written by Byron suffer haste, and characters abound, too numerous, many of them play cameo roles. The style of the diaries is easy, and because of this it is clear that they are written in our time, not in the XIX century. The diaries here is optional appendage, the more to that that you do not empathize to Byron, he is the hero of the episode, not a full-fledged personality.

Definitely it is worth reading novel, stylishly written and extraordinary constructed.