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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Grand Complication by Allen Kurzweil

The Grand Complication by Allen Kurzweil. New York: Hyperion, 2001. ISBN: 0-7868-6603-9

Calling all bibliophiles, librarians, and lovers of bookish books. Here's a really fun book, especially for librarians, but also those who love books, puzzles, antiquities, and the like. The main character is a typically obsessive librarian, who apparently works in some sort of rare books library. He has a lovely French live-in artist lover, but by the time our story opens, they are increasingly at odds with one another, increasingly over our librarian's fixation on helping, then working for, an eccentric bibliophile who is hunting for a very valuable, stolen watch, which at one time, seems to have hung in a case of curiosities he owns, and naturally wishes to complete.

If this all sounds wonderfully (or pedantically, take your choice) complicated, well, I need only to refer you back to the title of the book. Things are not as they seem, however, and just about everything our heroic librarian thinks he knows about this venture eventually turns out to be wrong. But not before we go with him on numerous investigatory adventures, both literary and real.

A delightfully entertaining romp of a story, even if it does put our heroic librarian in a less than ideally situated light, especially from a psychological point of view. But then, what do we expect? Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys this sort of convoluted bibliophiliac kind of tale. Try it, I bet you'll like it!

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