Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Reads: The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer

After finishing the Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, I immediately knew I was going to find more of Greer's novels and dive right in...

The synopsis for this one made me think of Benjamin Button...a boy is born.  A monster, as it were, as he starts his life as a very old man and starts to grow younger.

As he grows and lives, he manages to have the opportunity to love the same woman, Alice, three times at different stages in their mutual lives without her knowing it is the same man.  The first time as her elderly landlord (though he was really only 3 years her senior), later as an adult, thorough middle age, where they marry and eventually have a son that Max doesn't learn about until years later. Finally, when Max learns of his son he looks like a 12 year old boy - the same age as his son and passes himself off as the orphan son of Alice's childhood love (and Max's best friend) and becomes her adopted son so he can stay close to her and their son, Sammy.  Three chances. Three names. Three stories.

The entire book is written as a diary memoir for Max's son.   Throughout, he tries to explain the decisions he has made and related them back to his childhood love for Alice, he can only hope that one day when Sammy reads them, he will understand his father and why he did what he did over the course of 50 years.

The story is beautifully written and has made me fall even more in love with Andrew Sean Greer as a novelist and adept storyteller. He has such a way of capturing human frailty and emotion and weaving them into captivating tales that leave the reader spellbound and crying for more when the final page is turned.

Highly HIGHLY recommended (and I am off to acquire more of this talented authors work).

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