Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Intermission

Intermission by Owen Martell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Intermission' is a flight of fancy, based on legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans' lost months following the death, in a car crash, of his young bassist Scott LaFaro in June 1961. Martell imagines Evans staying with his brother Harry in New York, and then with his parents Harry Sr and Mary.

Eash of Bill's family in turn watches him and thinks about him and reflects on their own lives. Little is said. Eventually Bill returns to New York to resume his career. And that's about it.

The book is well-written, but there's no real substance. There are no deep revelations about the human condition and no resolution of anything. The character arcs are almost completely flat. The real-life Evans sounds like a fascinating character, but nothing of that comes out in this book. His silence implies a deep grief, but Martell barely scratches the surface, concentrating instead on more mundane introspection of his family members.

This short book seems less like a novel and more like an exercise in novel-writing. One wonders why Martell bothered to write it at all.

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