Roger, a young man, finds himself more-than-a-tourist but less than a Parisian in the City of Lights. Escaping a relationship with a friend that was never as platonic as his own parents believed, Roger discovers the nights and men of Paris to be affairs complicated by drugs, ex-patriots, and trysts. His awkward relationship with Marcel, a laconic native as addicting as the coke he sells, threatens to smother Roger. Life could be a trap of simply rolling out of bed, seeing a face as tangled as the linens, wiping the blow from your upper lip, readying yourself for another night in the bars and clubs of Paris. Does a city that prides itself on fostering love ever truly inspire it?
©2015 Mike Miksche (P)2016 Lethe Press
Probably not. It had potential.The writing is good, but there isn't enough of a plot in the story. Characters come in and out, perhaps for just one scene without apparently contributing to the development of a story at all. Then the story just suddenly stops, and hasn't really gone anywhere. It's a bit like flicking through someone's diary and just reading the odd section here and there. Great description, but no real plot. This is also leads to boredom with the narrator, and his introspection. He also becomes less likeable as the book goes on, and as there are few others that we get to know in detail, this is irritating.
Some of the description was very evocative, and really captured the mood of the lonely traveler absorbing a new city.
The style of narration was very odd. He inserts very frequent, rather long pauses, not only between but within sentences. It's so strangely slow, sort of like the weird style of some of the WWII radio propaganda. Eventually, when the protagonist is mostly conversing with non-native English speakers, this slow style with frequent pauses is more appropriate. Or perhaps I just got used to it.
I would have liked the author to have elaborated on many of the plot points that were introduced along the way. They had potential to lead somewhere, but were just dropped. The narrator's lack of curiosity about other people's lives means that conversations in which they begin to tell us something interesting are stopped too soon. I am not sure why it was published at this point. It seems cruel to the author not to allow him time to develop the book before it was wasted.
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