Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tara Ison - The List

Title: The List
Author: Tara Ison

ISBN # 9780743294140

Publisher: Scribner

First Published: 2007

259 pages

Format: paperback (advance uncorrected proof)

Rating: 7/10

For anyone who has ever broken up with someone... a smart, sophisticated, and darkly comic novel about a dysfunctional couple who make a list of 10 things to do before they break up.

Isabel is finishing medical school and destined to become a brilliant heart surgeon. Al is a video store clerk, a one-hit-wonder director whose first and only film became a cult classic. They have a sisyphean relationship - endlessly coming together and breaking up until they decide to make a list of 10 things they want to do together before they really break up. But after a few perfect dates - clams on the Santa Monica Pier, sleeping under the stars on the roof of a Sunset Boulevard hotel - the list takes a dark turn, and their plan spirals out of control, until they realize they would rather destroy each other than let go....

It's an interesting concept, this. Having been in one or two destructive relationships, I could empathise with both the characters, and am having some perverse delight in watching them drive each other crazy. Been there, done that, take sadistic pleasure in watching it happen to two complete strangers! But even if I hadn’t, the way the characters are introduced entices the reader into their lives in such a way that one feels a part of their lives. It's all written in the present tense, of which I'm not usually a fan, but it works here, keeping the reader involved in the action. There’s also the added twist of the chapters being narrated, turn and turn about, by the protagonists, so that the inner thoughts of each are exposed.

This had moments of very dark humour that had my doing my "Evil Mastermind" laugh every now and then. It gets slightly surreal near the end as the actions of the characters get more twisted and extreme, but it still manages to keep on track and delivers an ending that is perhaps slightly unexpected.

Not having read Ison’s previous novel, I can’t say whether or not this style is typical of her, but her style is certainly appealing and I would be interested in reading more of her work in future.


Blogger Hamsterbabe said...

I read the first chapter and a half of this book. I am searching everywhere for a brief synopsis because I cannot stand reading the book at all. But it is my club's pick of the month.

I love your webpage. I was trying to do the same on my blog b/c I could forget what books I read, well the author with the title. I'm at hamsterbabe.blogspot.com - I just can't seem to get another URL name to work. Anywho. Thanks.

10:36 pm  
Blogger The Book Fiend said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Hamsterbabe. Not everyone likes the same books - it'd be a boring old world if we did, eh? I'll be along to check out your blog too. :)

6:39 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home