Describing himself as “writing a book about the disappearing towns in the Central West region of New South Wales”, the unnamed narrator of The Town states he “was probably not a writer”. This is definitely an unusual way to open a book.
Despite not being a writer, the narrator keeps writing about the unusual town he finds himself in. There are streets that twist and turn ultimately ending nowhere. It was hard for me to not feel the same about the book. And then I had a flash of inspiration! The Town is a metaphor for today’s current lack of real meaningful human interaction. We are all on a road to nowhere. Or a bus driver who never has any passengers. Or a band member where bands are forbidden to play. Both are also characters in the book.
As a mystery/thriller genre reader, The Town was a refreshing change in focus—once I figured out its point. It reminded me of Camus’ The Plague or my childhood fascination with art films. The circus clown always stood for the “laughing despite your troubles”. That type of analyzing each scene for hidden meanings is required here too.
Don’t read this book if you want a straightforward plot and easily recognizable heroes and villains. But if you are in the mood for an atmospheric puzzler on a completely different level, give this book a try. 4 stars!
Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.