Meet Jake: human, husband, curator of relics, bearer of burdens, troublemaker, fool, father of two. As his daughter tells it, “I wished my father would change the world and fix every broken thing. But oh no, no, not him.
“More than anything, he loved paper. Paper, paper, paper. Mountains of paper. He couldn’t get enough of it. He wrote on it—he wrote and wrote and wrote. He traveled some—he wrote about that. He walked a lot—he wrote about that. He worked in bookstores and wrote about that. He worked in museums and wrote about that.
“I speak of my father, Jacob Friedman Wright, most of whose life was lived in a time when computers were still a novelty, and there was not yet the Internet. He was a collector. His house was filled with stuff, flea market finds, thrift shop junk. He would pick things up off the street. Seriously. He collected ‘artifacts,’ as he called them. And books. Books about the arts and crafts movement, mainly, along with every sort of miscellaneous book about life on earth, philosophy, planets, and physics. If the book was published in the year 1912 or the author had been born or had died in the year 1912, so much the better.
“In Camperdene, Massachusetts, as it happened, they had been looking for a new curator for their Museum of the Year 1912. After the Museum Association's Board of Directors had appointed my father curator, the Chairman, Wallace Barrow, had moved in close to him, had placed a long arm around his shoulder, and had whispered ominously, ‘Don't get this wrong, Jacob Wright. You're the dog. Don't let the tail wag you.’
“You could say this book is the story of how the tail wagged him.”
BookLife Prize for Fiction
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10
Clark's novel is a compelling read from its opening paragraph, which will easily hook readers. The voice of the narrator is strong and draws readers into the story, giving them cause to care about the well-developed characters. The author delivers skillfully rendered descriptions and vivid details, while the book's pacing keeps readers engaged with the plight of the protagonist.
Date Submitted: June 10, 2016