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Posts Tagged ‘great books’

Joe Meno put together a great novel in “The Great Perhaps.”   I’m certainly a biased reader when it comes to stories about the complexity of life and human relations. My bias balloons when the writer is a Chicagoan writing about Chicagoans.  I was excited to read this book and it delivered for the most part.

The main thrust involves an intellectual/academic family’s struggle to deal with the difficulty in finding a simple meaning to it all.   It’s a middle-agers coming to grips with reality type story.  The characters are perfectly interesting, if not a little underdeveloped and relying on caricature to fill them out.  The main character is a bit of a nutty professor in marine science, his wife also a forlornanimal behavior researcher, and their kids are full of tean angst, one a budding communist the other an exploratory Christian.  There’s also an aging grandfather winding down life in a nursing home.   All of them struggle with meaning in different ways and criss crossing each other constantly.

These characters don’t find an absolute truth to cling to, as the title suggests.   Science, religion, politics, psuedo affairs, leave it all behind…. none of it provides an answer for this family.   At the end of this book, by no means the end of the story, this family has only slightly advanced in their search. The parents more than the kids move forward in their thinking and yet it seems to be a very slippery, fragile place.  Meaning and truth seem like that – don’t they?

One irritant for me was the jumpiness of the storylines.  I found the flashbacks of the extended family history to be some of the least interesting vignittes.  These flashbacks chopped up the story a bit too much and really weren’t that interesting to read.

If you were to finish your summer reading with a quick, witty, and thought provoking ready, this is a great choice. perhaps.

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