September 2015 Reading
|I Am Pilgrim||Terry Hayes||I think I liked it.
More discussion below.
Yes, that’s right. I only opened and closed one book this month. Continuing my reading from the previous month, for my October book club, I Am Pilgrim consumed my time and attention and took me from all other reading possibilities.
“Screenwriter and producer Hayes makes his fiction debut with an exceptional thriller that boasts an utterly credible narrator who has had so many covert identities he can barely remember his original name. Soul-weary Scott Murdoch (aka the Pilgrim) has retired from the top echelon of ultrasecret espionage, but duty and faith in the human spirit call him back into service…Like many pilgrimages, this one is painfully long and packed with unexpected menace, its glimpses of the goal fitful and far between, but readers will agree that this journey of body and soul is well worth the effort.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Did I like it? I don’t know. Here’s the thing. The main character was telling the story. So no matter what happened, I had the comfort level and expectation that he does not die. That made me feel better.
Many times I said to myself, “I would never have read this book if it were not for book club.” and “I would not have continued reading this book if it were not for book club.” My paperback copy was 785 pages. When I hit page 475, I wanted to continue reading.
Here’s another thing. This book was frightening. It was making me read about the jihad society and terrorism. It made me wonder what is actually going on over there, and how scary the world is now. I don’t like that. I am thankful every day that I live in this country and that I am safe, and my children can live happy productive lives. I don’t aim to present myself as a shallow person, but too many details just make me depressed about the state of the world.
This book was disturbing.
But it was also about relationships. And I like books that explore relationships. How far would you go for love? For hate? How does someone with relationships where most of the people in his life have disappointed him take his experiences to figure out other people’s motivations? That is the underlying story that kept me reading.
I haven’t even decided if I would recommend it. It is way too long. It often has the feeling that it was written to be turned into a movie instead of just writing for the beauty of telling the story. It is violent, and scary. It addresses topics that I don’t want to think about. But even after finishing it over a week ago, I am still thinking about it. The characters are well defined and believable, even scarily authentic (to my limited knowledge of the Arab world). There are a few missing links in tying the story together (MINOR SPOILER ALERT: like how does the US agent tell the terrorist’s story, when at the end he doesn’t follow the thread in his search?) which was a tad disappointing. I guess I might recommend it with the caveat of saying, “I’m not sure I liked this book, but it is worth your time to read it. …And let’s discuss it when you’re done.”
Books Bought September 2015
|Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ck||Amy Alkon|
|The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of Handbags||Daphne Merkin|
I bought these two books as reading material for an upcoming trip, but didn’t open them until October, so no comments until my next Reading update.