Now that we’ve got all that mushy stuff out of the way, what do you say we do an actual review?
I’d been on a pretty decent reading streak. I didn’t fall in love with every book but I didn’t feel like throwing them across the room or walking away from any of them. Like I said, it’s been fairly decent.
But I was still feeling the itch. That vague kind of itch where you’re dissatisfied with something but you can’t for the life of you put your finger on it. I had finished reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, which was good but I wasn’t screaming myself hoarse telling anyone about it, and I needed to pick the next one. I was completely paralyzed with an inability to pick my next read.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read non-fiction or fiction, if I wanted to knock something off my TBR Pile Challenge list, or dive into the pile from the library, if I wanted to read one of my books or one of the books I’ve borrowed from others. I know that this indecision was because I was afraid to choose wrong and I was really ready to be blown away by something again.
I handed the decision over to my husband and he chose The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.
The book opens with our librarian (she may have a looser interpretation of that word than we do), Carolyn, covered in blood walking along the side of the highway.
So that got my attention!
Carolyn, along with her 11 adopted brothers and sisters, is responsible for a catalog of knowledge in her “Father’s” library. Carolyn’s catalog is languages so she knows every language in the world: French, Mandarin, Egyptian, ancient languages as well as the languages of animals. Her other siblings’ catalogs are war and destruction, healing, math and physics etc. They are supposed to study everything in their catalog but are not allowed to study other catalogs, or talk about them with their siblings.
When Father is missing, the siblings are left to try and work out where he is and what to do until they find him.
That’s the simplified version, anyway. This is one of those books that you really just have to read to get. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s kind of like if Quentin Tarantino imagined what it was like to work at a library. So yes, there is violence. But it’s also extremely funny and the characters Hawkins has created are original and wonderful. Besides Carolyn, there’s Scott, a plumber Carolyn meets in a bar who she is using but who also has his own sad story to tell; Erwin, a badass former SEAL who knows there’s something fishy about Carolyn; and David, who is flat out terrifying.
It was a crazy wide-eyed ride from start to finish and you should just read it (maybe just skip over the dog stuff. I skipped that.)