Clever. That's the best word to describe Mark Dunn's fictional biography Ibid: A Life, a novel told solely in footnotes. (Quirky is another good word for it.) When the only copy of Dunn's manuscript about Jonathan Blashette, a man born with three legs, is accidentally destroyed, Dunn's publishing company agrees to publish what's left: the footnotes. Set in the early 1900s, Ibid is a "biography by inference"; everything you learn about Blashette's life--his tour with a traveling circus as a child, the many women he loves, and his invention of deoderant for men--is hinted at through side stories and interesting, albeit somewhat trivial, historical tangents.
It's an intriguing way to tell a story, though it did feel a little choppy. And it was sometimes hard to find the thread of plot. Some chapters were really humorous and entertaining; others dragged. And through it all, I never felt like I really got to know Blashette. Still, I'm glad I read this original novel by Mark Dunn. It's only 269 pages, so it reads pretty fast. Though I have to admit, I like his novel Ella Minnow Pea better.
Weird! This author writes the strangest books. I hadn't heard of this one.ReplyDelete
He does write odd and quirky novels. And while I'm glad I read Ibid, I won't be buying it and adding it to my own library like I did with Ella Minnow Pea.Delete
I still need to read Ella Minnow Pea!ReplyDelete
I love it. It's clever, and witty, and a lot of fun, too.Delete
What a great cover! OK, I'm definitely interested in this one--warts and all. Still haven't read Ella Pea...ReplyDelete
They're both good reads...and so different from any other book. Ella Minnow Pea is by far my favorite, but then I love epistolary novels, so... Hope you enjoy them both. :)Delete
What an interesting idea. I have to say that I am definitely a person who loves and appreciates good footnotes!ReplyDelete
This book is full of them! :)Delete
Now I'm curious! Footnotes can add some serious spice to a book, but what if the book were all spice? Intriguing...ReplyDelete
It's a different way to tell a story. You should check it out.Delete