The Instructions by Adam Levin
My rating: 4/5 cats
fortunately, all the literary lynch mobs are occupied settling that mark twain business, so i can slip in here and give this book four
stars cats instead of five with minimal outcry. this book is excellent. at times, it is perfect. this is the highest four a four can be before becoming a five – put down that torch, straggler!
and after finishing it, i feel somewhat stunned, drained, like wandering blinkingly outside after a movie marathon. i need a moment. but what i can say now, with certainty, is that it is a remarkable book, and a pleasure to read, despite its daunting length. it reads much more quickly than it would seem, and i will probably read it again.
having said that, my quibbles are minor and have to do mostly with consistency and follow-through. i’m sure it is really really hard to write a book of this length, and when you have spent nine years on it, it is hard to part with any of the elements of it, even when you have someone as astute and gentle as oriana on your side to guide you. so i am totally sympathetic to and in awe of this book’s existing at all.
and i know my gentile status makes me miss out on certain resonances – reverberations of religious significance that even a faux-jew like greg would feel stirrings in his soul over, because this is the jewiest of all books ever. i have picked up some stuff in my way through life, but i am no israelite; gurion would have looked right past me, leaving me to defend myself with my saxophone.
and that’s all i am really willing to say. i approve of the caution most reviewers have shown regarding this book – no one wants to commit to a book of this size if they know what happens. this is why i will probably never read anna karenina, because everyone (except ariel) knows what happens there (except she knows now because i totally ruined her life), and i want everyone to read this book.
but if you must know, it is a potential-messiah story told in the first person that attempts to answer the question – gurion maccabee: ten-year-old messiah, or just an articulate thug?
and because greg shared his and mine is different: