Sunday, June 28, 2009

Read-it-First: Strange Nervous Laughter


This week, the St. Martin's Read-it-First selection was Strange Nervous Laughter by up-and-coming novelist Bridget McNulty. This is a novel about what love does to us. Told by the all-knowing narrator, it contains moments of magical realism - not something that I usually read; however, the few instances that surfaced in the first fifteen pages were OK. There are also touches of black humor.

The story follows six individuals during the summer months in Durban, a large city in South Africa. They are total strangers who are brought together during a grocery store robbery. At first, we are treated to a cursory glance of all six characters during the robbery. The next two chapters start to delve into the characters of Beth and Pravesh. Ms. McNulty is able to vividly convey the human nature of these individuals. We know what they are thinking. Better still, we are given explanations as to why they think the way they do and why they behave in a certain way - allowing the reader to catch a glimpse of himself/herself or someone they know.

I was intrigued by this book. Possibly more by the characters than by the plot. I will pick it up in the store and see where it goes from there.

Looking forward to next week's preview!

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