Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

I Know This Much Is TrueOn the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection, devastation and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.

This is such a complex, beautiful book that it’s hard to really give a sense of what it leaves in the reader. This is one of those books that will bring up so much as you read, putting you in situations you’ve possibly shied again from thinking about before. That’s what a good book is meant to do.

This is definitely a character driven novel, so we get to know our protagonist, Dominick, pretty much inside out. To be honest, most of the time, he’s not a nice person, he’s not likeable, but what he is, is wholly human. He leaps off the page with all of his issues and struggles, biases and anger that take up so much room in his being. It’s fascinating to watch him slowly shift as the book goes on. I loved that although he does get to a better place at the end of the book, it’s a believable level of stability. So many books out there force their protagonists into a “happy ever after” ending that usually feel off to the reader. Nothing is that simple in real life, so why should we believe it is in books?

Another extraordinary part of the book is the amount of interweaving Mr. Lamb does between the different generational stories. We see history repeat itself, even if the characters don’t, giving the novel so many hidden layers. The symbolisms, too, are beautifully done. The idea of wholeness represented with one rabbit turned to two and then back to one; the idea of a twin becoming not just one part of a whole, but an actual whole person. It is beautifully done.

I highly recommend this book. It is a heavy read in the sense that there are some difficult moments to read, but it is absolutely lovely.



Blogger10 said...

I adore Wally Lamb's books, but I think this is one of his best. Great review!!

Anonymous said...

This sounds really good and i keep flirting with the idea of reading it, but can't seem to commit. I will pick this up and She's Come time I see them. Great review.