This is the first “book” I have read on my phone. My phone has a Kindle app, not sure how it compares with an actual Kindle, as I have never used one. It was an interesting experience, I’m still more comfortable with paper based books, but the Kindle app has advantages like the ability to highlight text, to change the size of the font and at night you don’t need to turn a light on to read. It is interesting that the first book I read on the phone has much about modern communication: email, chat rooms, WebQuests etc… and the difficulties of communication between people online and offline.
There was a comment about blogs that struck me:
“It’s like the blogs you write.”
“What about them ?”
“It’s not as if people are flocking to read them.”
The main story is about relationships between people, especially one particular relationship: Michael feels his marriage has become mundane and lacks something and creates a virtual character Guy, to seduce his wife Julia. This, as you can imagine, is a bad idea, particularly when Julia starts to fall for this alt, who she knows only through emails.
The action flits between Canada and Israel, not too much of a surprise, as the author is a Canadian now living in the Negev Desert. The author himself even makes a couple of appearances, interacting with his protagonist Michael. David Lloyd is not the first author to do this, Clive Cussler, Stephen King and even Somerset Maugham have done this. It is intriguing in a way, the author visiting his own creation as his protagonist is also the creator of a fictitious character.
“Maybe I just don’t know what is real and what isn’t“
Michael is a teacher in Toronto, invited to a conference in Tel Aviv to present some ideas about teaching Shakespeare with WebQuests. At the conference he meets Merav, an attractive young student, with whom he begins email correspondence on returning to Canada. A lot of the novel relates to communication by means of cyberspace.
The plot is quite contrived like Shakespeare or Dickens. The penultimate chapter entitled “Everything that rises must converge”, sees many of the plot strands drawn together in Israel: “It appears that everything leads back here.” Julia surprises Michael by making a trip to Israel, the location of the fictitious Guy. Michael also heads to Israel for a liaison with Merav. Even a Toronto barmaid/erotic artist is drawn to Israel for an exhibition of her paintings, one entitled “The Last Pint” has a naked Michael drinking with two companions, one male, one female. Speaking of last pints, there is a lot of drinking throughout the book, almost every page has the characters pouring coffee, red wine, whiskey, beer, Guinness, even sherry but sadly no tea.
For a book entitled “As I Died Laughing”, I was hoping for more humour. The style is easy to read and quite chatty, once I started it was quite a pageslider (on my device pages are slid not turned).
My rating : 4 out of 5