Contortionism for Dummies

I finished The Contortionist’s Handbook yesterday, and I have to say “Believe the hype.” This is a great book, a tour de force through the weird mind and sad life of a unique character. I can’t remember the last time I felt this much empathy for a scumbag protagonist. I would never want to meet Daniel Fletcher or anyone like him, but I was fascinated by his story. He isn’t really so horrible per se, but a guy with very specific coping mechanism for a very hard life. Down to the very end I was enthralled.

I started it Sunday morning and finished it Monday night, reading the whole book in three or four sittings. For me, that’s really good. I’m lucky to knock out a book – even one I’m loving – in under a week or three. This book chugged away, was hard to put down, and as one of its virtues is fairly short. I don’t subscribe to the theory that books have to be 900 pages long to be of value. The prose style and the plot are masterfully economical. This fits in with the theme of the book, where the extraneous can get the protagonist arrested or killed, so a lean style fits that well.

I just can’t say enough good things about it. Go read it, you will like it.