January 06, 2010

BOOKS: Silver Lake, Peter Gadol (2009)

Robbie and Carlo have been partners, both personally and professionally, for 20 years now. Things are fine for the most part, but the architecture business has hit a slow patch, and their relationship is starting to feel a little worn around the edges.

Maybe that's why Robbie is so intrigued by Tom, a younger man who wanders into their office one Saturday morning. They chat and hit it off; Robbie invites Tom home for dinner. Everyone has a bit too much to drink, and rather than let Tom drive home, the men put him up in the guest room for the night. When they wake the next morning, Robbie and Carlo find that Tom has done something horrifying, and their relationship may not survive the fallout.

Gadol's novel is full of lovely prose, and the characters are well developed, but it's so self-consciously arty that I was driven nuts by it. I was also frustrated by the way Gadol hints at everyone's secrets for chapters on end; I find it's rarely a good sign when the author chooses to hide events from the reader, or describe things in cryptic ways that are wildly misleading, so that bombshells can be dropped later on.

A mixed bag. Can't say I'd recommend it with any great enthusiasm, but wouldn't be surprised if you found it deeply moving, either.

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