30 December 2012

A Changed Man, by Francine Prose

This is not a great novel, but it's a peasant one. The story of a former skinhead who comes to work for a foreign aid program run by a Holocaust survivor, and develops a close relationship with a single mom working there, and her two sons. There's nothing especially earth shattering about it, but it's a pleasant read with credible insight into human nature. Granted, everyone in the book - even the quasi-villain - is basically the nicest, most likeable incarnation of their character type that you could imagine, which somewhat mars the book's pretensions to moral inquiry, but the pleasant feel it gives to the whole is, to me at least, a credible trade-off. It's the kind of view you're tempted to describe as "human" - everyone is flawed, but hey, live and let live. Some readers may find it an anaesthetized take on the world, but what can I say, it made for good airplane reading.

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