Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Visible Man, by Chuck Klosterman (hardcover, $25)

If you strive to create order out of chaos, perhaps this book isn't for you. This is one of the quirkier books I've read this year, and it creates a polite version of chaos.

Y____ is a visible man; that is, he is human and you can see him. He chooses Victoria Vick (Vicki Vick?) to be his psychotherapist. He expects her to believe that he can put on a suit and become an invisible man.

Y____ claims that he cannot observe people as a visible man because that would change the actions and reactions of the person being observed. Heisenberg's principle. What better way to find out the true nature of man than by becoming a fly on the wall, or an invisible man?

Y____ claims to be a scientist whose eventual purpose was to "define reality … to make order out of chaos." Unfortunately, the goal becomes obscured as Y____ claims to have tampered with reality, with disastrous results. Does he feel guilty? Or is he worried because he doesn't feel guilt? Maybe it isn't guilt at all but Y___ knows that unless he tells somebody about his life, it doesn't exist.

The book is written from Victoria's viewpoint, with massive inserts of verbatim monologue by Y____. It's framed as a book Victoria is publishing about her unusual client. It's a psychological dialectic about whether observing people without their knowledge is blessed under the banner of science or morally wrong/criminal. Your mind needs to be open to enjoying 230 pages of that.

My jury is still out about this book. It's intriguing, unique, and vaguely unsatisfying at the end. There are no heroes; everyone is culpable. And that must be the lesson in reality.

Will Victoria become victorious? Will Y____ learn why?

No comments:

Post a Comment