Sunday, July 20, 2008
Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler (a review)
I’ve loved Karen Joy Fowler’s books in the past, so I was mystified by Wit’s End. It has all the elements of a good story: a young woman (Rima, our heroine) who has just lost her father and who has questions about his past; an older woman who happens to be Rima’s godmother as well as being a reclusive mystery writer, who may have the answers to some of Rima’s questions; a box of old letters; a connection to a cult; some old unsolved crimes; even a wacky fan or two. But somehow the story never gels. The dead brother subplot feels forced; characterizing Rima’s loss of her family as just one more example of her losing things seems flippant and almost crass; and the whole fans-taking-over-your-fictional-characters never really gets off the ground (or maybe it just never really gets interesting). I was left wondering where the Karen Joy Fowler of Sarah Canary and Artificial Things fame had gone.