|From The Elliot Bay Book Company|
Of course, I went. I was there early. I brought friends. I listened to the question/answer session shared with Kirk Lynn, another author. Martin looked tired, but what do you expect from somebody in the middle of a fabulous national book signing tour?! There were other people there that I knew, from the same time that I knew Martin. It was like a mini-reunion of people who used to work together. (We worked together in a bookstore, no less.) Afterward, I wanted to hang around and chat with him, but he looked so busy and so tired that I really just wanted to give him a hug. He even had a handler, if I'm not mistaken. (A guide would be a better word, perhaps? An agent? An escort? Somebody from the bookstore or the publishing house to make sure he was where he needed to be when he needed to be there?) (I want a handler.)
Now, I am reading the book. It took a while to get around to it, mostly because it's not small and it's not particularly light reading from the looks of it and I wanted to be sure that I was in the right mindset. Plus, I discovered that it's on Audible, recorded by the wonderful Edoardo Ballerini . Since I have a 30-mile commute to and from work five days a week, I enjoy listening to audiobooks. (This narrator is truly gifted. And the accents he can do! He has an Italian/American inflection when he's not in character, but he IS the character when they are speaking.) Now, I wonder why exactly I waited. I take that back; it's got a lot going on and the prose is incredible. I do have to be able to pay attention. But, I LOVE it. I mean, first it was awesome when a friend of mine had a book published. I had read some of his writing before and I knew he had talent. But, when I know somebody who actually produced THIS?! Incredible.
He described it as literary fiction, with mystery added to give it more popular appeal. I'm still in the beginning, but I know from the blurbs and discussion that there are three distinct parts: 16th century Venice, 1958 California and a close-to-modern-day Las Vegas. It involves a mirror (duh) and a book. I LOVE books that have an obsession with a specific book (as in that particular physical object, not just any version or publication) as part of the story. I love it. Have I ever read another story with that aspect? I have no idea! But, I love it!
The most truly amazing thing, though, was to read the first pages – and then hear them when I restarted the book as an audiobook – and hear Martin. I think that's why it's so amazing for me to know somebody first and then for them to be published. It would seem on the surface that if I recognize the author in the prose then it means I'm not able to suspend disbelief properly, which could almost seem like a criticism of the writing. But, it's not that. It's intriguing. From page one, the story hits the ground running, even if the only character in the scene is unable to convince himself to get off the bed. It moves. It pulled me in. But, at the same time I just kept thinking, "That's so Martin!" This is what it's like to have friends who become fiction writers. I had no idea.