rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book, largely for the reason I suspect a lot of people didn't - the marked lack of sympathy the story garners for its for main character. It is unrealistic to expect the main guy to be the hero all the time. We are rarely heroes ourselves and his non-heroism is about the only thing about which our intrepid arsonist is honest with himself and others; and that is refreshing and honest in it's own way.
There are all the other trappings of convenient novel realism to keep any escapist happy: women too good for him, the presence of good-hearted criminals and homewreckers, a cosmos that spins on irony, handy redemptive shifts in character, etc. A main character who is an admitted, demonstrated bumbler, gently wresting a life with a flimsy foundation from his own self- loathing and inability to be heroic is ultimately one of the more identifiable characters I've read in a while.
That and Brooke has a way with funny, sharp phrasing that I flatly envy. Describing the conditions of a room after a party as "postvolcanic" is laser-sighted in its humorous accuracy.
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