Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kathy Reviews: Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

ISBN #: 978-0307450289
Page Count: 352
Copyright: 2011
Publisher: Crown

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects - eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.

Kathy's Review:

This was one of those books that makes you go, "hmm."

There's the main character, Jack, who finds himself the object of several murder attempts by women he swears he's never seen before. The attempts are thwarted by an old man who looks just like his dead father. Oh, and did I mention that this is all taking place inside the bathroom in Jack's house? Eventually there are seven women, plus Jack, plus the dead-daddy lookalike, plus a baby that grows way too quickly, all crowded in there. Each woman gets a chance to tell her tale, which involves being wronged by a man in a time period different than the present.

At first, I had no idea what was going on. It felt like some kind of Lost sideways universe that, even once it started to become more clear, just wasn't cohesive enough for me to follow. However, I did figure out what was happening to Jack before it's actually revealed.

I liked some of the women's narratives - my favorites were "The Woman Who Married A Bear," and "The Woman Who Lost the Flag." I think I would have liked each of these individual narratives better if they were just that - a collection of stories, rather than part of a larger novel that tried to tie them all together.

Donohue has an interesting concept with Centuries of June; I'm just not sure I fully understood or enjoyed the execution of the concept.

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