Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finished: "Postcards from a Dead Girl" by Kirk Farber

Finished: Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber, 2010, 9780061834479.

Good but not great. Good writing and the narrator, Sid, keeps me interested but the story ran about 50 pages too long for me. Story spoilers ahead.

Sid is getting postcards from his missing ex-girlfriend, Zoe. The postcards are from across Europe and postmarked from a year ago. Sid is not sure what is happening. He thinks Zoe might be dead but where are the postcards coming from? Why is Sid smelling lilacs and hearing his mother speak to him from a inside a bottle of wine? The reader can tell something is going on and Farber lays clues along the way as Sid goes to the Post Office for answers, avoids his physician sister and fears her sending him to a mental facility, gets a CAT scan, travels to London, Paris and Barcelona in an attempt to track Zoe, digs a pit in his backyard to stand in for a mud bath, etc.

Of course Sid is a bit nuts. You figure that out as you read along. Sid's mother had mental health problems (as did Zoe) and Sid seems to have some as well. Zoe is dead from a car accident when Sid was driving. Due to a long convalescence Sid never attended Zoe's funeral and has mostly convinced himself she is just missing.

I think the story would have been better at 200 pages instead of the 250. I started running out of steam at that point and tired of Sid's wishy-washiness, his dates with a weird chick, lying to his sister, traveling to Europe and back, and a new friendship with a guy at the Post Office.

1. What of the postcards? They seem to be real and not Sid's hallucinations. Did the cards really just take a year to get to Sid even though mailed from all over? If real when did Zoe mail them? You find out Sid took his travel sales job for Zoe's sake but it sounded like she did not actually travel before her death.
2. What of Sid hearing voices? His CAT scan comes clean but that would not show a mental health issue anyway.
3. Unanswered questions are fine; why should the novel answer everything? But, the postcards derivation starts the whole damn story.
4. As written above, Farber does good writing as Sid. You see inside Sid and opinions and thoughts pretty well. Sid is an interesting character. I wanted to find out how the plot would be resolved.
5. How would Sid fair with the would-be-girlfriend at the end? Will he rejoin life and start paying his bills and living in the present, or will he stay nuts and she'll smartly jump ship?

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