Sunday, October 4, 2015

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

Face down on the bathroom floor after "a conk on the skull," Jack, the narrator of Donohue's unconventional latest, embarks on an epic and darkly funny journey through time and space without traveling much beyond his own bathroom.

My take: 3.5 looks

I don't like to give 1/2 looks, but this one demanded it. Falling past 3 looks, but just short of 4, this was a book that held my attention, but seemed to take a long time for me to read.

The book opens with Jack having a terrible blow to the head, and while he is lying on the bathroom floor feeling the blood seeping my his body, things being to get kind of weird. Visited by seven women, from different time periods and various backgrounds, each tells a story of their lives and lost loves.

Most of the action takes place in the bathroom of Jack's home.
There is also a mystery man who resembles Jack's father, or perhaps he is author Samuel Beckett; Jack can't be sure. There is also the mystery of an eighth woman lying on the bed in Jack's bedroom. He finds her vaguely familiar, but she keeps her back to him, and he can't quite remember why he should know her. And that cat which always seems to show up...

The title is clever in that it doesn't really draw on the characters or story, but instead embraces a feeling that we have all experienced:

That is what I longed for, what I needed. Another June, another eternal summer stretching out before me and a chance to recover. Centuries of June, life by life, bring the primrose of another beginning.


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