Thursday, September 13, 2001

Once again, it's book review time...

"The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter is a surprising and original book that covers the love buffet, from young and innocent, to jaded and cynical. There's love between lovers, between parents and children, between people and pets, and between friends, love gone right, and love gone wrong, and it's all there for us to examine.

The first half of the book reads more like a collection of loosely related short stories as Baxter himself, as a character in his own book, meets and interviews his friends and neighbors about their love experiences. By the mid-way point, however, the threads between the stories become stronger, and Baxter plays a lesser role in the narrative. By the end you understand how the various parts add up to a single whole, are fascinated by each of the people presented, and sad to be left out of the rest of their lives.

Because each character tells their own story, each chapter is from a different point of view; that is to say the "first person" narrating is a different first person from chapter to chapter. I had no problem with this, and I expect most readers won't, but I know that that can be a bother to a certain few readers who like a single, strong narrative voice throughout. If that's you, you know who you are.

If you like a lighter (but not light weight), comic novel, you can't go wrong with Feast of Love. Also recommended for readers of short stories.

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