David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still cant imagine a remotely happy life without heryet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.
The detectives investigating Alices suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.
Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepins role in Alices death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?
Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heartand a first novel of the highest order.
WHEN DAVID PEPIN FIRST DREAMED of killing his wife, he didn't kill her himself. He dreamed convenient acts of God. At a picnic on the beach, a storm front moved in. David and Alice collected their chairs, blankets, and booze, and when the lightning flashed, David imagined his wife lit up, her skeleton distinctly visible as in a children's cartoon, Alice then collapsing into a smoking pile of ash. He watched her walk quickly across the sand, the tallest object in the wide-open space. She even stopped to observe the piling clouds. "Some storm," she said. He tempted fate by hubris. In his mind he declared: I, David Pepin, am wiser and more knowing than God, and I, David Pepin, know that God shall not, at this very moment, on this very beach, Jones Beach, strike my wife down. God did not. David knew more. And in their van, when the rain came so densely it seemed they were in a car wash, he boasted of his godliness to Alice, asked rhetorically if a penis this large and ...
What Ross does well is to encourage readers to make connections between the three couples' situations by weaving similar details throughout all three stories. His use of description, particularly his sense of place (whether in New York, Hawaii or Ohio) transports readers and allows the setting to contribute to the telling of the story....I waiver between recommending this book and not, but I think that if you take the time to consider it, especially if you have the commitment to read it a second time, there are many interesting conversations to be had.
(Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
Full Review (1216 words).
When asked in an interview if there was any particular event that inspired Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross responded that: "In 1995, my father told me the strangest, most suspicious story about my cousin, who had severe peanut allergies and was also morbidly obese. According to her husband, he arrived home to find her sitting at the kitchen table with a plate of peanuts in front of her, and upon seeing him she stuffed a handful into her mouth and then went into anaphylatic shock. Her last words to him were, 'Call 911.'" (read the interview)
It may seem strange that eating something as tiny as a peanut could cause a violent allergic reaction strong enough to kill a person, however, Ross does not exaggerate the severity of...
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