Let me start by saying Speculation
will probably be on my top 10 list at the end of this year, if not right at the top. I have gone back and re-read parts this week in preparation for this review for Novel Publicity Tours, though I really wanted to have a full in-depth read done with a pile of notes, a medical emergency prevented me from doing so. So based on my initial read of this book, of which I have a feeling even knowing how the question of will he chose what is in the envelope or the 10 million dollars I will read this many times in the years go come and follow this author forward in his career. Another great Novel Publicity find for me! Now my review!Speculation
begins with a mention of a law office and goes of on the mystery of a missing friend. Then steps into the death of another friend, and then facing the choice of 10million or an envelope, as I shared with you last week in my Teaser Tuesdays. By the end you are left with your mouth hanging open, speechless and wanting to call your mom and tell her, READ THIS NOW! (Which of course I did in fact it was only 99 cents so I sent it to all of the friends whom I had emails for over in her book club, I have gotten thank you’s and a message on my voice mail going “KRISTINE LOUISE….” “What Madre, it was only 8 bucks, go read it you guys have no excuse)=
So three relationships, two of which are ending due to loss of life and a missing person. One which is his wife. All of which our main character Andrew met in college. Those of us who have been to college know the friends we make there tend to be for life. College is the proverbial primordial soup of our adulthood. We meet, make and find those of like mind, same interests, same philosophies or those that mesh with our own world. We also meet people who no matter if they are like us or not, just fit into the puzzle we are still trying to piece together that will carry us through. We are building our ethical framework for our world builds, our careers and in many instances, lets face it most, our core groups and binding relationships.
Our protagonist is a philosophy professor and the three mentioned above he met at college a decade before. He met his true love, Cheryl and married her and Sothum and Buddy who ended up being part of a great legacy of friendship. You could say he found his soul and his core being and based his life choices because of the relationships and experiences of college, as again many of us do. Sothum, Buddy and our main character Andrew are part of a group they formed called “The Three Wise Fools” I won’t go into one of my famous derailed tangents and describe what specifically a club at college is, because it has special nuances and most of the time there are no secret decoder rings, handshakes or hazing. Most of the time it is over coffee, or tea in this story, at a favorite booth in a restaurant that won’t kick you out after an hour or six. This is a necessary ingredient of the aforementioned soup!
Ultimately it carried me along for another one of those incredible rides and adventures which is the core of a good story. What makes this an exceptional book and exceptional piece of literature is the author’s ability to weave and build a character. His use of heavy allegory, but not as intense as Melville but never as light as a popular read, gives us nicely rounded characters from the first chapter on. With each flash back to college or years back after college building up each in our own mind, completely separate people who we come to love, loath or love to loath at times, be annoyed with and just enjoy! This book is all about relationships and exploring, this book is for people that like to engage in thinking and puzzles. It has none of the fantastical aspects used in so many tales these days, be it a book, movie or TV show. So no explosions, no clandestine meetings between spies from other countries or the death of hooker in Spain. Though these characters are just as interesting in my opinion. Without being religious this is a philosophical, religious/theological mystery, an intellectual thriller. Perhaps what Kant would call his bubblegum reading. (Hmm wonder what flavor Kant would choose?) But you do not need to have read Kant or be an academic to enjoy this, just someone who likes beautifully engaging and expertly stated prose with just enough allegory to make you go “Ohhhhhhh”. Each section has you bumping to another emotion, delving down another avenue of experience.
“Death Waits for all of us–as everyone who has not just had someone die is quick to remind us…(Location 572- Speculation – Kindle Version)
Southum’s speech was a litle ironic but also quite beautiful, quoting Woody Guthrie that for him to talk about marriage was like “a cowboy talking about the sky…” (Location 588- Speculation – Kindle Version)
Or perhaps this…
“Pain like light, comes in different wavelengths. Life’s smaller injuries and discomforts, like microwave radiation, inflict their hurt without delay. You feel it instantly when you realize you have been shorted a dollar at the grocery store, or cannot find a seat on the subway or get soaked by the water splashed up by a passing car” (Location 1709 - Speculation – Kindle Version)
So what is this book about? I have pondered how to write this review about a book that appears to be about choices when perhaps it could be read to be the solving of the mystery of a missing friend or the possible hidden message in the pile of papers from the boxes Sothum left to Andrew. Perhaps it really is a cruel joke being played at the expense of a friend who is mourning over the two parts of this trio of fools. Definitely it is about relationships and how no matter how much they change throughout the years of your life, ultimately they stay the same. Speculation
makes you think about your own values, and questions which carried with us having fed since our brain started thinking and pondering about them years ago. It is a grand and masterfully wrought book traveling through a sea of experiences layered with every day drinking of coffee to esoteric inner conversations of those pesky “what ifs”. In the end it is about all these choices and loyalties making or breaking the tried and true in Andrew’s life. What and who will he choose? Go grab a copy now and find out!