Douglas Kennedy, The Woman in the Fifth
Posted by dlandgren on 2009-02-17
Finished reading The Woman in the Fifth last week. I found it a bit disconcerting with its drift into the supernatural, but well, why not?
Kennedy paints Paris very well in the story, with neither condescension nor misplaced veneration. He captures the problem of immigration and the plight of the sans papiers with precision and at the same time without pathos.
What I liked least (or rather, what was the weakest aspect of what is otherwise a very entertaining and at times moving tale) was that the main character Harry Ricks is forced to flee the United States due to circumstances far beyond his control. And which aren’t revealed for some time in the narrative, and when you finally learn what happened it’s a bit of an anticlimax.
I hope Kennedy is exaggerating a little at how a simple fait divers can bring down a person in America, but hey, drunk Japanese finance ministers commit political hari-kiri (come to think of it, so do English members of parliament caught wearing frilly panties — or not, as the case may be), so maybe small town University professors have to, as well.
I did like the Faustian bargain aspect of the story. Kind of like winning the lottery… just so long as you spend the precise amount of winnings, each day, every day.