The Sunday New York Times “By the Book” interviewed Pulitzer nominated Korean author Chang Rae Lee, who noted Adam Ross’s “Mr. Peanut” as the best book he has read:
“Mr. Peanut is a hybrid wonder, being at once a detective story, an arch gloss on that genre and a bravura romance, totally upended, that employs the possible murder of one’s wife as a means of revealing the manifold facets of truest, desperate love. All this is driven by the edgy sparkle of the prose, which acts not only as a mirror or lens but as an accelerant, lighting up every layer of his characters’ consciousnesses to a degree that feels almost dangerous.”
I remember reading Mr. Peanut – might be time to read it again…
A complicated psychological thriller, and at the same time, a case study for marriage counselors, Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut connects murder and three marriages through the lens of an Escher work of art – drawing you in many directions at once, with perception and understanding just out of reach.
The story begins with David Peppin wishing that his wife, Alice, were dead; at first, he imagines acts of god – struck by lightning, falling off a cliff – then, he imagines his own rage killing her. Behind closed doors, their marriage is festering with pain. Alice, a former teacher, has become morbidly obese – Ross eventually reveals the reason behind this; David hides in the labyrinth of creating new products for his successful video game company. Escher’s art lines the walls of their home – inspiration for David’s games, and a Cassandra prediction for the marriage.
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