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The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (P.S.) Paperback – November 1, 2005
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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An 89 year-old man, rumored to have once been a detective, has retired to take care of his bees when into his life wanders a nine year old boy who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his only companion an African gray parrot. Who can resist it?
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While Chabon can obviously write well, the book works as a whole piece, but I tended to get interrupted by the details really bothering me as every dialogue sounded as though Chabon had _really_ wanted to be Arthur Conan Doyle, writing about Sherlock Holmes; the title of this book is a reference to a Sherlock Holmes story.
The mystery in itself is plain and simple: where's the parrot? An old detective tries to solve everything.
A light, quick read, but painful and really, Conan Doyle's stories are infinitely better.
As always Chabon makes super good word sentences, and fine paragraphs. Eventually they all start to form a fine little story. It's pretty heady reading. I had to force my way through some pretty thick sections of big words.
This sort of overly-wordy narrative goes on for paragraphs and paragraphs, making it hard to appreciate the quirky and extremely interesting characters that are moving around beneath it. I never skim when I read, but I found myself impatiently skimming some chapters to get to the parts where things actually happened. If you cut out the redundant sentences, you could probably reduce the book by half. How many different ways do I need it demonstrated that a guy was really, really old, or that a little boy is really, really sad, before the author can just move on to the story?
The crowning jewel of "The Final Solution" was a single chapter told from the parrot's perspective. It seemed like the whole book was just a set-up for twenty-some pages inside Bruno's head and his almost Lovecraftian perspective on the monstrous apes who keep him captive. I guess the whole book is meant to be an allegory about the horrors of humankind. The protagonist is a once-brilliant man whose experiencing losing himself to senility. The boy he's helping is an orphan and a holocaust refugee. The people surrounding the sad child include an alcoholic pastor, a psychopath who shares a house with him, and one single kind woman who is at a complete loss on how to help any of them.
All in all, I really enjoyed the plot. It's not a classic whodunit by any means, but the unsatisfying ending serves to punctuate the book's underlying grim themes. I just wish that Chabon had focused more on the story of Bruno the parrot's journey, and let the humans take the peripheral, supporting role.