Saturday, 26 March 2011
The Confessions of Edward Day by Valerie Martin
Valerie Martin is probably best known for her novel Mary Reilly that was made into a film which showcased Julia Roberts appalling Irish accent (honestly at times she lapses from Irish, into American and then back into Irish all within one word), which is a shame as aside from that I quite enjoyed the film. Martin isn't an author I had read before but I'll certainly be checking out her Orange prize winning novel Property next I think.
Edward Day is a stage actor living in 70s New York. One day Edward is rescued from drowning from a guy called Guy (most annoying character name ever) who looks uncannily like Edward. Guy is also an actor, is also in love with Edwards on/off girlfriend Madeline and just always seems to pop up in Edwards life at inopportune moments making things very difficult. The events which unfold are told from Edwards point of view and throwing a spanner into the works is the fact that Edward is a complete narcissist making the reader unsure what to believe.
Martin's writing flows very easily making this quite a quick read and I enjoyed reading the events unfolding, before then having to completely rethink the whole thing at the end. The triangle between Edward, Guy and Madeline is unusual as some events don't quite add up and its up to the reader to decide if this is because Edward is leaving stuff out of his narration or if this is how he genuinely sees it (given the narcissistic aspect I believe the events are how Edward sees it).
The novel also goes into detail of the stage lives of Edward and his fellow actor friends and the highs and lows that entails. These aspects coupled with the sinister undertones throughout makes for some entertaining reading and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these parts of the book. Unfortunately the ending was a little bit of a let down for me but only because I don't think I really 'got it' and I'm not sure why the character Guy had to look like Edward, it didn't really seem to add anything, but these are very minor criticisms.
Overall I wouldn't say you must rush out and buy this novel but it is quite good so if you see it on your travels its worth picking up.
Posted by Jess