Unreliable by Lee Irby
Book Review: 3 out of 5 stars
Edwin Stith is on his way to his mother’s wedding. He hasn’t met his soon-to-be stepfather, who isn’t much older than he is, nor has he met the gentleman’s two children. Edwin admits that he’s not completely honest or maybe he’s too honest and the story he’s telling may or may not be true. He’s a professor who may or may not have slept with his students, he may or may not have killed his ex-wife and/or his girlfriend who may or may not be his girlfriend or he may or may not be a serial killer on a murderous rampage. Is he completely crazy or is he just unwilling to confront what’s he done?
I felt this book was a spoof on the popular unreliable narrators in today’s literary world. There’s a lot of humor involved and I enjoyed the beginning of the book. Edwin’s ruminations about what may or may not be going on had me hooked. It bogged down a bit for me when he arrived home and there just seemed to be too many plot lines going in every which direction. There’s his old girlfriend from high school who may or may not be crazy who he may now have fallen in love with, or maybe not. There’s his student who he may or may not be having an improper relationship with who’s on her way to either marry him or kill him. There’s the dysfunctional family that his mother is marrying into. There’s a local revolution going on and possibly a shady arms deal.
The more I read, the less I cared about what was true and what wasn’t. I enjoyed the humor and I enjoyed the references to Edgar Allen Poe and the main character’s comparison of Poe’s life to his own. If you can suspend your desire to make sense of what’s going on and just go with the disordered chaos of Edwin’s mind, you’ll enjoy this story told by a very unreliable narrator. Or you may just get annoyed with just how unreliable this narrator is, which at times I certainly did. But the author did keep me interested and did keep me reading. It was a light, fast read and at times was quite fun.
I won this book in a contest given by the publisher.