Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Master Impressionist Loses Himself

Giovanni has a talent for mimicking people that as a child often lands him in trouble. The only person who understands him is his smothering mother. She encourages the talent that  leads to his success and eventual downfall.

He is leading an ordinary life as a ticket agent when Max. a rather sleazy talent agent, spots him, puts him on the stage, and changes his life. From the stage he gets into movies and even a political run, but the threads of his life unravel and the ending is quite sad.

The blurb on this book calls it “A hilarious and dazzling debut novel.” Personally, I didn't find it either hilarious or dazzling. The first chapters were relatively interesting. Giovanni's childhood and later discovery by Max are a rather fascinating character sketch. However, as the novel progresses into his later success and eventual downfall, I thought the author was trying to build a short story into a novel.

This is an almost totally character driven story. The setting is sketchy. Giovanni moves from town to city, but we never have a clear picture of his surroundings. I enjoy novels that have attractive background. This book disappointed in that area.

I can't recommend this book unless you love long character studies. I found it hard to get into and the three divisions didn't help the flow of the narrative.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.