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Land of the Blind: A Novel Paperback – August 18, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins like your average detective/crime novel, but quickly becomes a flashback story as the main character - in attempt to write a confession - tells the story of his life and the life of the dead body discovered by police.
The title of the book comes from the old saying: "In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man rules all." The author manages to incorporate the saying into the story in a way that will startle and move the reader. An outstanding effort with twists and turns around every corner.
In this novel, Caroline Mabry, from his previous novel plays more of a supporting role in the memoir of Clark "the Loon" Mason. He wants to confess to a homicide and begins writing it out on legal pads as she checks the small bit of information he gives her. But we get to read his confession as he writes it, starting with his initial meeting with the deceased in middle school continuing on to how their lives twisted together to bring them together at the conclusion of the story.
While not the standard mystery, I couldn't put this book down, finishing it in two sittings. Jess Walter writes so well, he should probably take his next book outside of the mystery genre. The description in this book is graphic and sensory, the characters are believable and interesting.
I highly recommend reading this novel.
Detective Caroline Mabry meets lots of lunatics on her night shift, but this one with the eye patch is a gem. He wants to confess, but to what? When he says homicide, the journey begins. The reader travels back in time through his long written confession infused with brief glimpses back into the present and the thoughts of our heroine. An interesting read, I found the description of boyhood, teen trials, and related events to be vivid and entertaining. Land of the Blind is not your run of the mill detective story. I recommend it.
I'm impressed enough with Jess Walter to read his books. Now I find myself impressed enough with Land of the Blind to get off my jaded butt to recommend it to anyone who was ever teased in school, or bullied, or humiliated, or moved by the fear of any of the above to act against his better nature.
This is a book written in pain; it is painful to read, painful to relive personal moments like the moments it churns back into the light. Beyond being a work of beauty wrought from words, it is a book of truth wrought from memories of pain.
If you were ever, for just one moment, a schoolkid in over your head, with repressed memories of the you you'd rather not face, here's that rare opportunity to take it out, to examine it, to tell you that it wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Land of the Blind is a lifetime's worth of truth-telling therapy for about the price of lunch.
1. I am not a fan of mysteries or police procedurals
2. I have read every novel and short story collection by Jess Walter
This book is superb. Mr. Walter writes beautifully but not in a manner that says
look at me; see how well I write; see all the big words and compound sentences.
This book, like most of his work, is character-driven. He writes characters who are
real flawed human beings in such a way that we are interested in them (dare I say like them)
for both their strengths and weaknesses, their foibles and their normalities, their neuroses
and their introspection. We can relate to these people and can understand them and how that
leads them through their encounters with reality and their reactions to it.
In this wonderful book, the two protagonists are examining the life and actions of one of them.
One is writing a confession in the form of a life history leading him to the end and the other,
a detective, starting at the end consequence and in the course of investigating it, working backwards
to unravel the life story behind the final action. The same story being unearthed in reverse directions.
Creative structure that helps us see the same life and conduct through two different sets of eyes (well one
and a half sets of eyes) thereby revealing the differences of the two protagonists in personality, psyche and
the driving forces of their lives. Just wonderful reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First read of the author... I liked it. In some ways this is an implausible story, but the reader is not asked to make many great leaps. Read morePublished 6 months ago by john brueggeman
I am a big fan of the author and had not yet read Land of the Blind. As much of Walter's work, it was entertaining, witty, dark and thought provoking.Published 9 months ago by Judith S Elofson
Land of The Blind tells the story of high school misfits and what happens to them as adults. The story encompasses grade school and high school bullying, social class divisions,... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sally A. McDowell
I really like Jess Walter. I love his writing style. I like his subjects.
This book was another unique presentation. Read more
Jess Walter is a dynamic visionary. Each story carries his voice, but genre can't be compared to his other titles (ex: Beautiful Ruins). Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jj Vancil
This is a haunting book with beautiful prose. My heart was wrenched and warmed with wicked humor at the same time.Published 15 months ago by Ashmitha Raja
Powerful, original, and unpredictable look at how people try to deal with childhood dreams and adult realities. Kept me fully engaged until the end.Published 16 months ago by Patrick Valentine