Tom Bissell: Class Act.
Small town pictorial records, continued.

But do we see him?

Over the weekend I read a novel titled Now You See Him, by Eli Gottlieb. I liked it quite a bit, and it had a lot of plot twistlets (more like little "ah-ha" moments than big plot twists). The narrator, a man named Nick Framingham, is not so much unreliable as he himself is uninformed, but I do love the air of suspense that even a vaguely unreliable narrator lends to a story.

Gottlieb The entire book follows Nick's struggle in the months after his former best friend Rob Castor shoots his former girlfriend and then himself. As he pieces the puzzle of Rob's life together, his own marriage starts to fall spectacularly apart, particularly when Rob's sister Belinda comes back to their small New York home town and turns to Nick for help (which is complicated by the fact that Nick and Belinda used to date).

I'm making it sound horribly dull; it's not. I think I'm starting to figure out that it's not so much that I don't enjoy reading fiction, it's that I find it very hard to talk about. When it's good, I like it very much, I immerse myself in the story, but when I'm done, I just want to be done with it. With nonfiction, I find myself often wanting to think more about the books and their subjects when I'm done, and that means I like to review and talk about them more. I wonder if I've become such a Puritan that I feel vaguely guilty to simply read and enjoy a novel, and therefore want to move on from it as fast as I can, whereas with nonfiction, I often feel like I've learned something and therefore the time was profitably spent.

Either way--it's a good novel. I'd be interested to hear if others have read it and if so, what they thought.