Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ed King - Book Review

A modern day retelling of Oedipus Rex, Ed King by David Guterson is a strangely compelling read. I pulled out our copy of Sophocles' work but couldn't bring myself to read it. I did, however, reacquaint myself with the basics of the story. As far as I can tell, Guterson stays pretty true to the source while being imaginative, original and believable.

Married and a father to two young children, Walter Cousin's gives in to his lust and has a month-long affair/rape with the "au pair". He impregnates her and she then leaves the baby on a door step. The abandoned baby is adopted by an infertile Jewish couple. The baby, named Ed King, will become an Internet billionaire but even then he will be unable to escape his fate. It is ultimately as tragic as the forerunner.

I read Guterson's famous work Snow Falling on Cedars so many years ago that I can scarcely remember the details of the story. Impressively, Ed King is an astounding work while being drastically different from Guterson's earlier novel.

The characters in Ed King are reprehensible, amoral, and vile. It's hard to feel sorry for them yet impossible to look away from their dramatic and destructive lives. While the novel is dark, Guterson has a talent for wit and cynicism that made me laugh several times. Some passages were so clever and humorous that I read them aloud to Utah Dad.

Ed King is a dark novel and includes graphic scenes as well as foul language, for those reasons I would not recommend it to most of my friends.

**I received a complimentary copy of Ed King in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was received.

1 comment:

alisonwonderland said...

This one is strangely compelling to me. I'm going to put it on my to-read list.

BTW I really loved Snow Falling on Cedars!