I finished “Spadework” last night. It was a really thick book but it didn’t take me long to read. Deceiving. The font was large and there weren’t many words on each page. I like that in a book because I feel speedy. I also like finishing books because then I feel accomplished.
The end of the book came about pretty much with what I was hoping for. Clever-ish. Actually I’m the one who’s clever. I was thinking to myself during the last few pages that this was the story of a bunch of peole who just go about in an ordinary way, living their lives, routine, and that the novel catches them just when the routine is broken, and less-than-ordinary things start to happen to them. I don’t want to say “exciting” or “extraordinary” things because they aren’t. But given the context, things go astray. The image I had in my mind was that of a string, that we live our lives along a string and then at some times that string frays, or in the case of “Spadework” breaks apart with a *pop* (this is just the picture in my head). But then all those bits of fible that make up the string start to heal, and grow back together into a single string again, and routine is restored, and if it’s a novel then the characters are left with a suggestion that things are going to be OK.
What makes me clever is that the author had the same image in mind, pretty much. The last image of the book is that of a river, obstructed a a dam, and then flowing on unchallenged. And that’s what the whole novel is. People overcoming obstacles that aren’t your run of the mill everyday obstacles, but nothing overly dramatic. And at the end I was pretty sure that everything was going to be alright.
I was also thinking as I read that this was little more than a perfectly crafted work. That’s fine, I just like when novelists go a little wacky with their structure.