Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Cost by Roxana Robinson

Cost: A Novel 

Cost: A Novel by Roxana Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this one for a long time. It is not a book that I think is for everyone. It's a fascinating look a family that is dealing with a family member with heroin addiction. Although that is the primary focus of the novel, it's so much more ... it's about the complicated relationships that exist in most families to some degree or another. It's not for the faint of heart ... emotionally speaking. It's not gory or violent in any way but it is emotionally impactful and hits the reader in the gut!

The characters that Robinson presents in Cost are outstanding. They come alive for the reader. The author's beautiful writing and excellent character development really shine in this novel!

The narrative shifting device employed by Robinson was difficult for me to follow initially - throughout the narrative, the perspectives change randomly, making the narrative feel occasionally disjointed. I got used to it eventually but it was jarring in the beginning. In the end, I appreciate the shifting voices and how it contributed to the overall feel of the novel.

I really thought that the voice of the character with heroin addiction was done so well and it really helped me to better understand addiction and its hold on someone in a new way. I thought the novel really did a great job of showing the wide reaching impact of addiction on the entire family unit. And it really made me think about my own family and how the personalities within a family combine to create a unique, interesting, messy, crazy thing unique to that very family.

Although I enjoyed the novel, I did feel that the novel ended fairly abruptly. Robinson built up the story so well, only to end the story so abruptly as to be frustrating to me!

I enjoy Robinson's writing style but can definitely understand that it wouldn't be for everyone. It's a bit of stream of consciousness but with structure. It's almost clinical at times. Yet, I like it and find it interesting. At times it feels as if I am listening in to someone's inner voice. It's an ever-changing emotional dialogue of sorts - raw, uncomfortable, funny, sad, interesting, frustrating, and more.

In the end, this isn't a novel for everyone but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I left the novel having felt as if I learned something and felt something that I hadn't learned/felt before!

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