Two Mini Reviews
Sandrine's Case by Thomas Cook
Published 2013; 341 pages
This was a somewhat dry telling of a broken relationship through memories after the wife dies and the husband is on trial for her murder. The structure is a day by day of the trial as different witnesses cause the husband to remember his wife in various circumstances. As the circumstantial evidence builds, we aren't sure if he did it or not until quite late in the book.
He's a professor at a local college so the story is peppered with literary references and quotes supporting the idea that the town "didn't like him" because he was a bit pretentious. So the neighbors and townspeople were inclined to think the worst of him. He has a grown daughter and their relationship gets some play as she wrestles with what happened to her mom. The resolution is well handled though not particularly surprising. I read this as an audio book and the narration was fine - there was good voice differentiation between the characters.
It was an okay read.
Many Are Invited by Dennis Cuesta
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published Oct 6, 2022; 242 pages
Thanks to #netgalley and #celestialeyespress for this complementary copy of #ManyAreInvited for my review.
First Sentence: "The invitation remained hidden in nineteenth-century Russia for over twenty years. I must have been reading The Brothers Karamazov when I received the inviation, got some ways into the novel - page 52, apparently - and never picked the book back up again."
This is the story of two men, Steve and John, who become friends when they meet at work in IT, trying to solve the potential Y2K problem. That actually has very little to do with the story though the blurb plays it up. The story follows the friendship through job changes, marriage, jealousy, tragedy.
The problem I have with the story is with the way women are presented and the way these lame, misogynistic, egotistical men demean almost every woman they see - their appearance is ranked, they compete to see who can get a date with the prettiest woman, they are terrible men. John changes jobs and gets lucky in the dot.com era so makes a bunch of money. Steve is constantly jealous and envious and it's one of his frat boy pranks that sets the tragedy in motion. While the end has a bit of a surprise, the trip to get this was no fun. I'm not sure who the audience for this book is - maybe a particular type of man? This book was a disappointment.
I didn't have good luck with these couple of books, so I'm to the next ones. Have you read either of these and what are your thoughts?