I finally had time this long weekend to sit down and start one of the books I bought in San Francisco. I am reading Fall by Colin McAdam. The first chapter is written from the perspective of Noel, a high school boy at a Canadian boarding school. His voice is languid and sensual and the entire ambiance of his world is lovely but also dark and atmospheric. It is hard to pinpoint but the sense is of something lovely but also twisted. Then the perspective shifts to the voice of the golden boy at the same prep school, Julius. And I sat the book down. I dislike him. Immensely. His mind is vacuous and vain and rat-a-tat rapid fire crap, Pygmalion on the cover of GQ. His perspective made me think of that cartoon about what a dog hear when we humans talk. Squak-squak-squak-food-squak-squak-ball-squak-squak-squak-food-squak-cat-squak-food. The only difference is that Julius thinks about sex. Granted, 17 year old boys likely can’t help but think about sex, but does it make them all so idiotic? [smacks forehead]
Yes, Virginia, it does. And it likely doesn’t stop at 17.
I must keep reading because I want to believe that “pretty boys” who appear vain, flippant and James Dean in their indifference, do have deeper waters. But some people are kiddie pools, completely separate from the regular pool and absolutely never part of the Great Lakes or ocean. It is easy to fake being a kiddie pool, hiding the deep end. It is impossible to feign safety and welcome the novice swimmer when you are the sea. I want to keep reading because I want Noel to not end up being that creepy boy who you decide you like and then discover he has a strange collection of strands of your hair. I am completely making up all of the backstory on these two charatcers. I am only 70 pages into this book and haven’t hit the crux of the narrative. I know from the back cover that the most desirable girl at the school, Fallon (thus the title, Fall) goes missing and is presumable dead…….a whodunit. But she is still alive and getting screwed by Julius….in between his smoking and inane banter with his two sidekick friends (neither being Noel).
I just hope it gets better. I want to like my characters, even the villains and especially the ones broken or slightly bent. Like in Breakfast Club…..we ended up liking them all and realizing how similar they all were…broken, bent, malformed illusionists….able to conceal the deeper waters.