Professional Reader 80% 25 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ill Will - Review

Ill Will   🌟🌟🌟🌟
by Dan Chaon  
Published March 7 2017 by Ballantine Books
Finished July 5 2017

This is one unique book.  I will first say that I had an ARC from NetGalley but chose to listen to the finished version on audio.   A few of the chapters end, just stop, right in the middle of a thought, of a sentence.  Why?  Being edgy, risky, gimmicky?   Mr. Chaon, I don't usually care for gimmicks or such distractions. (This IS at least explained later.) The narration switches between characters, between first, second, and third person, and between past and present.  Why all the jumping around in books these days?  I don't usually care for that either, and was one of the reasons I gave your book You Remind Me of Me only 2 stars.

But, again, this book is SO different, to put it mildly.  This book, gimmicks and all, hooked me by the neck and yanked me along its journey through no less than two gripping murder investigations, two cancer deaths, two estranged brothers, two sisters also estranged, hard drugs, and multiple versions of the past.  Our remembrances of our own pasts are called into question:  You think no one knows your past better than yourself, but Chaon takes you by the neck, again, looks you square in the eye, and says Hah!  That's what you think!  And when a traumatic event such as finding your parents, aunt, and uncle all dead is involved, and of course when buku drugs are being ingested, memories are even more sporadic or repressed.

The older I become, the more I am uncertain of my own memories.  This is a subject that always fascinates me, in books or in discussions.  So I was simply captivated by this book and wished I could get back to it every time I put it down.   It was chilling, and the author's choice to be a little out there worked for me this time, but may not for others because.... 

I did read parts of the ARC aside from listening to it.  I could not get into the printed book at all and can see why some low ratings. My reason is that the formatting in some chapters gives us two or three columns of narration side by side on the pages.  Not so unusual, but then I could not figure out for certain if I was supposed to read all 3 columns on a page before turning the page, or was I supposed to read all pages of the left-hand column first, followed by all pages of the middle column, and then the right-hand.  I really didn't spend too much time on that since in the audio, that decision was made for me. 

Thus, I for one would recommend the audio over other versions.  Plus, it was just excellent.

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