Debbie, November 25, 2007
(view all comments by Debbie)
I haven't even finished reading this book (I'm about halfway through it) but already want Jon Fasman to write more. "The Geographer's Library" is so well-written, with solid, quirky prose, and intriguing mysteries, that I dread having the story end too soon. So far each chapter has been in one of two different time periods - current day or the '70s and '80s, with other sections devoted to descriptions of ancient artifacts and their provenance or events from the far distant past. Each section provides a story that sharpens and further shapes the other sections.
I hesitate to compare Fasman's writing to Mark Halpern's ("Soldier in a Great War" -- "A City in Winter" et.al.), because Fasman uses a more personal and conversational tone, but something about his powers of description and inclusion of interesting references strike me as similar (in a different sort of way). His writing is matter-of-fact and down-to-earth. It's laid back, yet smart, and sprinkled with descriptions and rhythms that are downright lyrical.
"The next morning, the weather had cleared and everything looked scrubbed and sparkling, the edges of buildings and tops of trees a bit too sharp to be real, the sky too glassy blue not to be painted. Intricate little frost fronds snaked across one of my apartment's windows from opposite corners, greeted each other, and merged into a white crystal bruise...."
There are liberal references to some well known and some esoteric literary works that enrich the story. I like reading a book that gives me a window to other related material!
I could go on, but I'm anxious to get back to the story. If you like fiction that makes you think and gives you an opportunity to savor the events and descriptions in it like courses of a delicious meal, try "The Geographer's Library."