The Lost Highway Hardcover – Nov 20 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Prize-winning Canadian author Richards (The Friends of Meager Fortune) spins a sad, thoughtful tale around Alex Chapman, a community-college ethics teacher living in a small Canadian town of English- and French-speaking whites and Micmac Indians. Alex's lifelong feud with his tyrannical great-uncle James drives him to desperation. At the opening of the novel, James has lost his paving business. He asks Alex to take his truck in to have the oil changed; Alex refuses. James vows that Alex won't inherit, and Alex is furious, though in fact it is he who contrived to make his uncle lose his biggest contract. When the mechanic, a simple man named Burton, gives James a lottery ticket worth thirteen million dollars, Alex decides to steal it. He blames his uncle for an old humiliation that caused him to refuse to admit his feelings for Minnie, the soft-spoken girl who loved him. The novel draws on a number of different perspectives including Burton, Minnie's daughter, Amy, and Leo Bourque, the schoolmate who bullied Alex when he was a child. Richards goes to unnecessary lengths to explain his characters' motivations, and this slows the narrative pace considerably. Still, the novel presents complicated ethical dilemmas and offers sharp insights into complex emotional motives.
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Top Customer Reviews
The best part of the book is the character development. The protagonist is a fellow by the name of Alex Chapman. Richards does a great job showing us the dichotomous nature of Alex. He is an ethics professor who has a fetish for Stalin. He is kicked out of the Seminary because he steals. He is supposed to be the intellectual but is outsmarted by his loser friend Leo Bourque. The auxiliary characters in Minnie, Amy, Burton, James, and Markus Paul are all interesting and add a lot to the development of the story.
I think the plot starts out well, but gets strung out in the last third of the book when Markus is chasing down the mystery. Richards gets bogged down in the logistics of explaining who goes where and who does what and his characters flatline in their drama and development. I would've preferred if Richards simply cut out the twists and turns and got straight to the point and finished the book with more depth.
Overall, I think the book is a decent mystery thriller. It's not a gem, but certainly a good read for an afternoon or two.
Anyway, not good. Skip it. Do something worthwhile with your time, like reading Mercy Among the Children. Or playing the lotto.
Most recent customer reviews
I personally truely enjoy Mr Richards style of writing and have most of his booksPublished 17 months ago by Suzanne Surette
This is a very unpleasant story with no likable characters, including the central figure. The writing is very poor. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2009 by Margot Rosenberg