Title: Strange Bodies
Author: Marcel Theroux
Originally published: 2013
This is a bottom shelf book.
Picked up based on a vast number of glowing reviews, Strange Bodies was a whim purchase done with trust in others. It sounded unique and strange, both of which I highly enjoy in novels. I’m strange, the world is strange – strange is very good. Sometimes, however, it does not get executed greatly and strange quickly becomes quite awful. You sit, reading page after page, hoping you’re wrong, hoping the storyline will right itself, and upon every flip of the paper you find yourself disappointed.
Marcel Theroux tried, I suppose. There was an attempt to link science fiction, literature, and thrilling plotline, one that almost succeeded but in the end fell short. Questions of consciousness, identity, and death arise with promise of deeper conversations being had but they never seem to reach the desired level of seriousness. It felt forced, contrived, and absolutely ridiculous.
I had high hopes for a book that promised a “literary thriller” that were dashed quite quickly. I could never get into it and was never all too interested in what Theroux had to say. The characters were overwrought and boring. The use of the device of a story within a story plus the addition of excerpts from the psychiatrist’s notes made for muddled, messy storytelling. I found it all so unappealing that it felt physically difficult to get through each page.
If you decide to look up the book and check out reviews you will find them all to be extremely positive. Perhaps I missed something, perhaps they did. Or perhaps Strange Bodies is just not my type of book. What it comes down to is that I could not stand this novel, would not recommend it, and would never lend it out in fear of the angry diatribe that would be coming my way once the receiver had finished the book.