Saturday, July 9, 2016

WILLNOT by James Sallis


WILLNOT by James Sallis is a unique new novel by the author of DRIVE (made into a movie starring Ryan Gosling, and also on audio:) “In the woods outside the town of Willnot, the remains of several people have suddenly been discovered, unnerving the community and unsettling Hale, the town’s all-purpose general practitioner, surgeon, and conscience. At the same time, Bobby Lowndes—a man being followed by the FBI—mysteriously reappears in his hometown at Hale’s door. Over the ensuing months, the daily dramas Hale faces as he tends to his town and to his partner, Richard, collide with the swerves and turns of life in Willnot. And when a gunshot aimed at Lowndes critically wounds Richard, Hale’s world is truly upended.” The thing that separates this novel from many with such plots is the tone and point of view, almost stream of conscious. It is philosophical, like Ian McEwan (whose “Enduring Love” is new to audio.) He doesn’t limit himself to the events of the novel, but ruminates and dreams about how he got where he is in such a way as to elevate the perspective. (McEwan also wrote “The Daydreamer.”) What makes it irresistible is narrator Kevin Kenerly, who was great in TO LIVE FOREVER. Kenerly imbues what he reads with a grandeur and significance that is not easily forgotten. Sallis has published more than a dozen novels; multiple collections of short stories, poems, and essays; the definitive biography of Chester Himes; several books of musicology; and a translation of Raymond Queneau’s novel Saint Glinglin. His works have been shortlisted for the Anthony, Nebula, Edgar, Shamus, and Gold Dagger awards. The film version of his novel Drive won the Best Director Award at the Cannes International Film Festival, and his Lew Griffin books are in development for film. He plays guitar, French horn, mandolin, fiddle, sitar, and Dobro, both solo and with the band Three-Legged Dog. AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH.

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