Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I've been in a bit of a mood. Summer is here and I suffer from reverse seasonal affective disorder. I get miserable as the temperatures rise. Of course, my old age is kicking in and this winter was a little on the tough side for me, too, but it's nothing compared to the gloom that comes over me when the temperature hits the high 70's (never mind 80's and nineties). I need to find somewhere that is 60 and overcast with a bit of rain all year round (with maybe a snowfall or two).
When it gets hot like this, I start fantasizing about living elsewhere. This in turn leads me to turning to a pair of books on finding that place called home. I'll be reviewing the one later on. The other is Peter Cameron's City of Your Final Destination.
The thing is, I like where I live. I really don't need to be thinking about moving, hellacious heat be damned. So I steered clear of Cameron's book because I didn't need the headache of fantasizing about being elsewhere. But I did decide I wanted to read something by him and so I read Andorra.
Andorra is similar to City in that Cameron writes about a real place but makes it fictional. There is an Andorra in reality, but it is nothing like the Andorra about which Cameron writes.
Cameron's Andorra is on the coast and most of the novel takes place in a terraced town. The main character, Alexander Fox, has moved there from the U.S. after a tragedy that took his wife and daughter. Fox appears to be appropriately named as he seems to be both sly and good-looking. He quickly befriends an Australian couple, and both husband and wife fall for him. Meanwhile, one of the notable families in town also takes a shine to Fox and sets him up in a place to live and tries to get him to marry one of the daughters of the family.
We find that not all is as it appears to be, with anyone or anything. Some murders happen and Fox is suspected of being involved. This leads to some truths being revealed about the circumstances involving his family's deaths.
Despite the murder mystery, the book isn't a mystery. Despite the romances, it's not really a romance. Not sure what to call it exactly other than good. I think I have read all of Cameron's novels now and I have enjoyed every one of them.
On the downside, I didn't much care for any of the characters. They all have their really odd quirks and I can't say any of them are really likable in the least. Cameron's writing makes the book compelling even without a protagonist for which you can root. That to me is always a characteristic of a good writer. Can you make me want to keep reading, even when I don't like the person about whom I'm reading? If so, you're usually a good writer and/or have a good story going.
I do need to try and track down Cameron's short stories and give them a shot. I'm not much of a short story fan so if I like them we can say without reserve that Cameron is a favorite writer.