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Gabriela, Cravo e Canela
Jorge Amado
Progress: 157/358 pages
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
T.E. Lawrence
Progress: 189/672 pages
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
G. Edward Griffin
Progress: 41/608 pages
Peter the Great
Robert K. Massie
Progress: 472/934 pages
Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty
Bradley K. Martin
A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
Charles B. MacDonald
Progress: 191/712 pages
The German Army 1933-1945
Matthew Cooper
Progress: 198/598 pages
Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment
John F Williams
Progress: 22/238 pages
I'm Gone: A Novel - Jean Echenoz, Mark Polizzotti

When I began reading "I'M GONE" 3 days ago, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. At first reading, the writing style seemed too glib and casually crafted, bordering on the banal. But the author, I think, did a clever thing by inserting in the opening pages, Felix Ferrer leaving his wife Suzanne - intent on divorcing her, and, after a swift trip on the Metro, finding instant refuge with one of his mistresses, at her place on the Rue de l'Arcade in Paris. (I smiled to myself at this point, because I myself had been to the Rue de l'Arcade when I visited Paris a few years ago.)


But the more I read "I'M GONE", the more I came to see it as a modern morality play. Ferrer, a failed sculptor, owns an arts and antiques shop in the heart of Paris, where he has several artists as clients. He is facing hard times. Most of his artists are not selling well. Business is nigh well stagnant. But then, Delahaye, his mousy, ill-dressed assistant, alerts him to a collection of rare Paleoarctic relics on a ship that had been ensnared in an ice floe in the far north of Canada and abandoned by its crew in 1957. (Paleoarctic relics are highly prized in the art world by virtue of their rarity.) Ferrer then has one of those EUREKA! moments, and spares himself no effort nor expense in travelling over to Canada to find this ship in a rather desolate, barren, wintry landscape.


The story proceeds to take the reader on a ride that has many meandering twists, turns, and spins. Ferrer is sorely tested -- so much so that when I got to the end of the novel, I couldn't help but wonder: WHAT NEXT? The experience of reading "I'M GONE" was like being on a roller-coaster ride. It started off slow and uncertain, then accelerated after scaling the first mountain and negotiating a series of sharp turns and dips. And then, when all is said and done, and the roller-coaster takes one to back to the starting point, one lets out a sigh upon leaving and reflects aloud: "now that was more interesting than I thought it would be."