Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer Reading: The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer

In an effort to expand my literary horizons beyond my usual choices ("chick-lit" and historical romances), and to find ways to entertain myself that do not cost actual money, I have selected several books from the NPR Recommended Summer Reading list and have requested them from my local library system. Well, the book that appealed the most to me (The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer) was actually not available at our library, and instead I chose another of his novels, The Confessions of Max Tivoli.

This is the story of a man, Max, who was born in the 1800's with a disorder which caused him to be born as an old man and progress back to infancy as he aged chronologically. My initial thought was how far-fetched this is, but the book is so well-written that by the end, I was considering that this might actually be a rare medical condition that I just never heard of. There were several passages that made me actually cry, and I felt like I personally knew the main character by the end of the book. It's a story about an unconditional friendship, and of someone hiding the truth of his inner self and earning love by being who people thought he was, and all the conflicts that this facade caused him. It was thought-provoking and touching, and the prose is absolutely beautiful. You should check it out.

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