Sunday, December 4, 2016

Review: "Dodge Rose" by Jack Cox

Even while almost exactly half of this book is totally lost on me, there is not another book that came out in 2016 like Dodge Rose, the debut novel from Australian writer Jack Cox. For this book to find any family company as far as style and audacity, you’d have to go to the beginning of the 20th century. This is a maddening, frustrating odyssey of two people stuck in the loopholes of Australian property law as well as that of some being, whether it is human or not, alive or dead I’m not sure nor will I ever be, although I have some good ideas about what it might be, but even those might be totally wrong and misleading. This is not a book for everyone, and that everyone probably includes me, but I will try my best to describe what is happening and what is going on. The first section, which is mighty dense but accessible, concerns Eliza, who travels by train to her Aunt Dodge’s apartment, who has just died. While there, she meets Maxine, a stranger, in Dodge’s apartment. What was supposed to be a quick collection of a sizable inheritance turns into a dull wait as the two women find themselves enmeshed among many bureaucracies. The second section, which begins around page 109 of this 201-page book, features a disembodied voice, seemingly lost in time, describing their history, which devolves by the end into gibberish. The first part, which reminded me of a more sophisticated version of Jonas Karlsson’s The Invoice, is a great curiosity, especially a section where one law, The Health Act of 1958, is described in excruciating detail, which brought me back to the descriptions of pharmaceuticals in Infinite Jest. The second part is a curiosity as well, but one without an immediate solution. If this book comes across your path, I’d say pick it up. You’re in for a challenging ride, but don’t expect to see here you are going.

Rating: 4/4

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