30 Books in 30 Days: 8.21.11

A Person of Interest by Susan Choi

Reading A Person of Interest is a deeply satisfying experience.  The book delivers on all levels:  plot, richness of prose and depth of characterization.  What stands out most about the book is Choi’s amazing prose. Each sentence is so evenly dense that reading her prose is like adopting a new inner voice where every thought is just a little deeper, just that much more intense than everyday life.  Choi’s prose is the gift of entering Choi’s very brilliant mind.  Because of the subject of the book, the ways the FBI narrows down suspects in a university bombing, the book progresses well, drawing the reader in to the suspense of whodunnit.  Choi makes the main character of the novel, Professor Lee a multi-dimensional character who is only too aware of some of his flaws while also being blind to others.  Even as the FBI case moves forward, agents narrowing in on Lee as a major suspect, the reader is treated to the back-stories of Lee’s previous marriages and his struggles to find relevance as an aging academic.  There is something very current about novels that cover the intrusion of private citizen’s lives, and this novel chronicles the egregious invasions of Lee’s privacy and personal life with acute detail.  And yet, it is a tribute to Choi’s skill as a writer that it is never easy to pinpoint the true victim in this novel.  As the novel draws to a close, Choi rewards with a finely wrought, action packed finale.  I highly recommend this book.  One thing is for sure:  reading this book’s beautiful sentences will make you smarter.  Along the way, you will get a nuanced and insightful account of prejudice and violence in our society today.



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