Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ed King

Finished December 9
Ed King by David Guterson, read by Arthur Morey
Overall I enjoyed this book, but there were a couple of areas that I found grating and likely would have skimmed if I were reading rather than listening to the book.
The book begins in the summer of 1962, when Walter Cousins looks for some domestic help when his wife Alice has a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized. He finds a British au pair, Diane Burroughs, who says she is 18, and is willing to come on short notice to look after things. Diane is sexy and knows it. When Walter sleeps with her, the situation alters and Diane admits she is underage and her attitude changes again at the end of the summer when she is no longer needed in the Cousins household. Unfortunately, she is pregnant, and Walter, while trying now to do the right thing, finds himself being milked and lied to. Walter is essentially a good man, who made a bad choice and definitely lives to regret it.
The story then follows the lives of Walter, Diane, and the baby (Ed King) over the course of their lives. We see how the lives interact in interesting ways as this book evolves to mirror the plot of a classic Greek tragedy. This modern novel based on a classical plot is part of an interesting trend lately.
The parts that were skimmable to me were the math stuff and the computer business stuff (note that I was a math honours student my first year of university, so it's not that I'm not math oriented, I just thought it went on a bit longer than necessary for the plot). Well written, and Guterson employs word play and characterization to subtley emphasize the connection to the classic.