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The Grand Complication

1 rating: -5.0
A book by Allen Kurzweil

In this literary thriller, a scholarly man named Alexander Short meets a man in the New York Public Library who wants him to find a missing "curiosity"--an antique French timepiece that has disappeared from his home. As Alexander is drawn into … see full wiki

Author: Allen Kurzweil
Genre: Literary Criticism
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Date Published: August 01, 2002
1 review about The Grand Complication

All books have their fates--the fate of this one, the forgettable shelf

  • Nov 29, 2005
Rating:
-5
Pros: none

Cons: Language, contrived storyline, stereotypical characters

The Bottom Line: The story, characters, and language are too simplistic and stereotypical for a good read. This is only a good book if you like formulaic novels.

The Grand Complication ends with the words that all books have their fates. Ultimately, the fate of this book should be to gather dust.

The synopsis is that a reference librarian is hired by an eccentric man to help him discover the whereabouts of a particular watch. Despite the title and various other contrivances, that is as complex as the story gets.

The characters are more type than they are real; this concept is furthered by the stereotypical dialog they all use. This problematic aspect is most annoying when used for the main character's library staffmates. The director is straight out of Dickens at his most childish, as are the majority of the others. Yes, librarians can stereotypically be a neurotic bunch, but in this novel, that is taken to an absurd extreme.

What makes the novel even more of a Frankenstein is the language. Mr. Kurzweil uses some very rare language sprinkled around liberally but without regard to anything but intellectual supremacy. In other words, the rarer words are out of place because their context is simplistic and silly. It is a novel that would be decent, if tedious, practice for a high school junior who wanted some extra SAT words under his/her belt.

Imagine this as a DaVinci Code lite. The twists and turns are telegraphed and don't require any special level of attention. The images and puns are obvious and I received no joy by 'figuring them out' or just being validated that I was able to recognize the telegraphing as early as I did.

Finally, I wound up not caring for any of the characters in the novel at all; whether they succeeded, failed, or entirely disappeared meant nothing to me in the end.

Recommended:
No

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