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The Year of Dan Palace Kindle Edition
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Top customer reviews
While these are ordinary people going through the ordinary trials and tribulations of life: the idea of impending death, marital mis-communication and/or a total lack thereof, irrational regrets, lack of self-esteem, cats, divorce, and mental health issues, it addresses, most importantly, the polarity between men and women and the emotional dynamic that ensues when the dotted lines between the poles become blurred and agitated. However, what makes the mundane work here is that it's really a perspective story. Each particular perspective is distorted to such a degree that each is true and yet not true. Character motivations that seem self-serving often require further analysis, as everything about this story is gray area, and although this is a man's point of view story, I felt the female characters were deftly portrayed, albeit from that man's being Dan's point of view – an important distinction to take into account while reading. I've seen the word cringe-worthy mentioned in reference to some scenes in this book. However cringe-worthy they are will depend on how the reader interprets them. For me, the author presented an argument and left me, the reader, alone to chew on it.
So yes, it's dark. It's dirty. It's life. It's a man in crisis makes mistakes then wanders around aimlessly in the desert of life trying desperately to find his way, but in reality, it's not about the misguided, it’s about misdirection, one that allows us existential contemplation of the "What if?" Well, that is if we choose to walk through that door.
This book was reviewed from an ARC provided by the publisher.
Dan is prompted out of the predictability of his mundanely successful life by the idea that a comet is going to end the world. Consequently he decides to leave Nina to try and make amends with April. In the process he hooks up with Jenny and her boyfriend, Andy, which results in a sequence of unexpected consequences. The storyline moves rapidly from one eventful day to the next and the reader is soon immersed in the everyday trivia of Dan's existence and his attempts to change his life. At times the plot is surreal and bizarre creating for the reader a sense of the mental turmoil Dan is experiencing.
One of the great strengths of the book is the attention to detail. This is not a book for a quick read despite the ever changing plot. It's a book to savour and enjoy the beautiful clarity of the writing. The book's other strength is the excellent characterisation. These people are so real even though their behaviour is, at times, very peculiar.
From the powerful emotion of the break-up of Dan and Nina's relationship in the opening pages to the completely unexpected ending, this book really is a stunning must-read and highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
He had once loved Nina Lee (Neen).Read more
But what if the end of the world is coming only for a select group of crack pots.Read more