A masterful, inventive thriller from a remarkably assured and always surprising young writer.
Perpetual graduate student Joseph Geist is at his wit's end. Recently kicked out of their shared apartment by his girlfriend, he's left with little more than a half bust of Nietzsche's head and the realization that he's homeless and unemployed. He's hit a dead end on his dissertation; his funding has been cut off. He doesn't even have a phone. Desperate for some source of income, he searches the local newspaper and finds a curious ad:
CONVERSATIONALIST SOUGHT. SERIOUS APPLICANTS ONLY. PLEASE CALL 617-XXX-XXXX BETWEEN SEVEN A.M. AND TWO P.M. NO SOLICITORS.
And so Joseph meets Alma Spielman: a woman who, with her old-world ways and razor-sharp mind, is his intellectual soul mate. How is he to know that what seems to be the best decision of his life is the one that seals his fate?
©2010 Jesse Kellerman (P)2010 Penguin
I really REALLY wanted to like this book. I've read several Jesse Kellerman books in the past and enjoyed them all. That's why I eagerly downloaded this one. I'm not sure where the author was going, but it seemed to drag on and on and I finally gave up listening. It was downright painful. Also, I found the narrator's voice quite annoying. I'll be interested in reading what others have to say.
This book has the signature Jesse Kellerman hook - the story begins with an odd document, voicemail or newspaper ad, etc. - and expands from there. In this case it's a peculiar job listing, in the Harvard "Crimson", for a "conversationalist".
I considered this story to be very credit-worthy, but the overdone, melodramatic narration moved it down to a "3".
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