Wednesday, January 21, 2015
It's been a while since I cackled hysterically through almost an entire novel, but it's an experience worth having and I strongly recommend it. Double Feature was riotous and fun - I had a great time reading it and know I'll be reading it again in the future. The story is great, I loved the breakneck pace and page-turning language. There was at least one night when I stayed up way too late reading while trying to get to a good stopping point and just not being able too because I wanted to keep going more than I wanted to stop.
There aren't actually that many books that I can't walk away from on a first reading - I tend to be able to abandon most novels chapter by chapter and come or go with them as I please, but not Double Feature. I had trouble closing it to return to work after lunch. I had trouble shutting the covers so I could remember to eat or sleep. Sam's obsessions and Booth's history were riveting to me, especially in the first act, and kept me flipping pages and wanting more and more to read.
If there's any failure in the book, any flaw, it's that things end so neatly and seem so fantastically great, but considering that the whole story is an examination of the importance of fiction as a means of escape I don't consider this a problem. There's nothing wrong with a book having a happy ending, nothing wrong with feeling hope as you close out a story.
Double Feature is Owen King's first novel, and it's a much more impressive achievement than his bumbling main character's attempt at an opening move. The book is moving, raucous, somber, silly, and contemplative by turns but it's never not entertaining and it never makes itself too presentable and polished for the reader. There's a soothing messiness in the language and the plot that's too comforting to be accidental and makes me very excited to read King's next effort.
King, Owen. Double Feature. Scribner. New York: New York. 2014. (2013).