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Monday, August 28, 2006

Karin Slaughter's "Triptych"

Hubbie and I are going to Karin's book signing tonight at Ansley Mall for her latest book, "Triptych." This one is outside the Grant County series, but knowing those, I'll start reading early so that I can read it straight through and hopefully finish before it gets dark out. *chills!*


     The thing about Karin's books is you have to leave a window when no commitments are looming on your schedule. I learned this the hard way when reading her first book, "Blindsighted." I couldn't put it down - not even when I reached the spine-tingling scariest part, realized it was dark outside (I'd started reading that morning), and my husband was out of town.
     So with "Triptych," I waited for the right window.
     Finally, with several pressing deadlines behind me, I treated myself. I began reading about 4:00pm yesterday . . . and kept reading until 1:00am when hubbie made me grudgingly turn off the bedside light. The characters wove through my dreams waking me at 7:30am. I picked the book back up up and read to the very end.
     "Triptych" is, in my opinion, Karin's best work yet. I hate the word "seamless" so I will call it "flawless." Karin says she thought about this book for almost four years before she started writing it, and the time she spent working out every detail is obvious. Not a beat was missed, no idea was left unfinished, no detail was left unutilized.
     The book is divided, as the title suggests, into three parts or points of view. The fascinating thing about her approach is with the different points of view, we learn how the characters see themselves and more importantly, how others see them (often very different from their self-perceptions). It makes you question your own abilities of perception and the assumptions we all make when given limited information.
     The story is, of course, violent but what I love about Karin's writing is that her stories are really more about the characters, the baggage they carry and how that affects their reactions to the battles they face.
     What I found most fascinating in "Triptych" was all the grey. Nobody was all bad or all good. Right and wrong blurred. While many of the characters judged themselves harshly (and some not harshly enough), the ultimate conclusions were really left up to the reader to make.
     The characters in "Triptych" were not cut-outs. They were complicated and multi-dimensional. I was reminded that you never really know what people bring to the table when they enter your life. Appearances are just that. Being allowed to peek into the consciences of these characters made this a complex read, and thoroughly enjoyable. I cared about them, I was fascinated by them, I wanted to know more about them. And while Karin never leaves you hanging, she does leave you wondering how the characters will move forward in their lives with the new baggage they are burdened with. It left me thoughtful, pensive, and anxiously awaiting Karin's next book.



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