Monday, April 7, 2014

Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

Terms & Conditions 
Robert Glancy
3/5 stars

I was given this book by the Amazon Vine program in return for an honest review.

Terms and Conditions is the story of Frank, a lawyer who specializes in the fine print terms and conditions of contracts, as he recovers from an accident-induced case of amnesia.

The arrangement style of the novel is clever: it is divided into small chapters (from as short as one page, up to a few pages long) titled "Terms and Conditions of ____" with the blank being filled in with the topic of that chapter, followed by a by-line. The chapters often have footnotes, some of which have their own footnotes, adding to the feel of a document with small print. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel immensely.

It is written in the first person point of view, with Frank as the not-always-reliable narrator. The reader discovers bits and pieces of his past at the same time as Frank does, with the other characters shifting likable to unlikable as Frank remembers more.

The plot itself is not particularly complex, and I was easily able to "figure out" what would happen in advance. The denouement tied up everything into a too-perfect ending, which I found unsuited to the story itself.

Frank, as a narrator, was amusing and sad, yet I could not feel empathetic toward him, possibly because he did not appear to have the depth needed for a character undergoing such circumstances. The other characters (major and minor) were also not fully developed, and at times the motives and motivations were not convincing.

Despite this, despite not being fully interested in the plot or the characters, I found myself compelled to finish. Glancy's prose was smooth and the unusual style worked well. I will be most interested to see his next work, to see if he can develop plot and characters to the level of his style and prose.

Note: This is my opinion; on Amazon, 47% of the reviews were 5 stars.

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