Monday, November 21, 2011

Going Out

You'd think that the free, "leave a book, take a book" shelf at a publishing company would be pretty great, right? That's not quite the case at my office, where our communal shelf seems to have an endless supply of romance novels or old, paperback westerns, and not much else. I consider anything that doesn't fall into either of those categories to be a good find, which is why I picked up Going Out without really knowing anything about it.

It turns out that the author, Scarlett Thomas, seems to have something of a cult following and, from what I read on Goodreads, Going Out is one of her early, hard to find novels. Set in Britain, it's the story of Luke, who's allergic to everything under the sun (including the sun itself) and lives a nocturnal existence shut up in his room, and his best friend Julie, who could be living a normal life but is paralyzed by a fear of almost everything. Joined by a ragtag group of friends, they break Luke out of his house and head out on a road trip to visit a healer who claims he can help Luke.

I liked this book well enough. The characters are sympathetic and their dialogue is so sharply written that it read like a movie script playing in my head. The journey they take puts a modern day spin on The Wizard of Oz, with a few Murakami-esque elements thrown in. The morals of the story (not letting your fears imprison you, etc., etc.) tend to be treated a little heavy-handedly, but for the most part I found that endearing rather than annoying. I'd definitely consider trying something else by the author in the future.

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