Friday, February 24, 2006

The Last of the Crazy People by Timothy Findley

Just finished this novel. It's a quick read. 282 fairly light pages.

The story concerns an emotionally stunted friendless youth of 11 and his extraordinarily dysfunctional family - so dysfunctional they don't seem like a family at all but rather a collection of strangers - and the struggle of trying to grow up without sufficient guidance.

This was the local (Toronto) writer's debut novel, first published 1967 and with that consideration I'm very impressed. He pours a lot of depth and emotion into every scene, more so in fact, than in subsequent books Not Wanted on the Voyage and Headhunters, both of which I enjoyed. This depth keeps the story feeling like it's moving fast when in fact there's not a lot of distance made, in terms of circumstance, through the bulk of the story. The critical events all happen at the end and are clearly alluded to early in the book. There are really no surprises.

It's no masterpiece but a perfectly worthwhile read. It's a good emotional ride with little aftereffects. It won't keep me thinking about societal implications for very long as, for me anyway, it came across a little too surreal to have much bearing on reality.


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