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Still Life Las Vegas

by James Sie

Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie X
Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie
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There are currently 23 member reviews
for Still Life Las Vegas
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  • Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)
    Las Vegas Journey
    James Sies's STILL LIFE LAS VEGAS is a stunning debut novel with characters, especially Walt, so skillfully developed that they will dwell in my memory for a long time. Sies moves deftly between characters and shifts in time to advance Walt's haunting journey to a truly poetic ending. The interspersed graphic chapters help develop poignant sections of the plot and could be taken from Walt's tablet. Not for all book clubs, but if your group is in to drinking deeply of a text, this book is for you.
  • Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
    There is still life in Las Vegas . . .
    Give this book a try. It's not for everyone - other reviews will tell you why - but I believe the appeal of Walt may hook you in spite of/because of the strangeness and sadness of the story. I was reminded of Theo from The Goldfinch, who also had transforming experiences in Las Vegas and who we also leave with only the beginning of his journey completed.
  • Samantha H. (Golden, CO)
    Still Life --Interesting, creative read
    I really enjoyed this novel. As Walter's story unfolds you are drawn further and further in. I love how Sie uses graphic narrative to convey some of the more emotional sequences of the book, just as Walter would if he were writing his own story. This book is very well done -- I highly recommend it.
  • Chris H. (Wauwatosa, WI)
    Still Life Las Vegas
    Very interesting characters who play off each other well. That is my main reason for liking the book.
  • Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)
    Time and space do funny things in Las Vegas
    James Sie's "Still Life Las Vegas" seems like a collage. There are short chapters that click back and forth in time (but are helpfully labeled with who, where, and when). Interposed, there are occasional journal pages, illustrated by Walter, the main point-of-view character. And there are interludes where the story assumes graphic novel form. I liked most the deft knife-edge writing, where the tawdry and sad are also luminous and funny. The characters are so well drawn (both in words and images) that I'll remember them far longer than most of my book acquaintances. And I've never been to Las Vegas but I don't need to now, having seen the gears and guts through the eyes of a local. I am confused, maybe in a good (literary) way or maybe in a bad (mind not supple enough) way, when I try to reconcile the several competing versions of the story core. This may be a book best fitted to readers comfortable with quantum uncertainties, where Schrödinger's cat can be both alive and dead.
  • Dorian B. (Bainbridge, NY)
    Wonderful mix of media
    This is a book that you need to give yourself some time to really enjoy. I especially liked the use of illustration to add to the story and the setting. The characters are unusual, but I found myself really connecting and wanting to read to the end. I would recommend this book for people who like to read with an open mind and see where the story takes you!
  • Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
    Still Life Anywhere...
    Everyone at some time or other has been too busy to take note of what needs immediate attention. Mind a million miles away until a tragic incident forces all focus on the present moment. A small family attempting to navigate the permanent consequences of distraction is the idea upon which James Sie's book is built. Still Life Las Vegas is about the slender thread upon which we balance ourselves and what happens when it is stretched, frayed and finally broken. Teenager Walter Stahl lives with his father, a former professor of Greek mythology, now spending his days abed in a drugged stupor. They have moved west looking for Walter's mother who ran away sometime "earlier." Against the plastic backdrop that is Las Vegas, including Liberace and the gondolas of the Venetian, Walter navigates toward adulthood searching for the Vietnamese woman that was his mother. Enroute, he learns more than he wants to know about his family's past and the world in general. Sie expertly creates believable characters in unbelievable yet plausible situations, especially considering the Las Vegas environment. The mixture of prose and graphic novel styles works mostly, especially in the beginning. Recommended for those who like their contemporary fiction thoughtful and a little bit crazy.

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