The Man in the Window by Jon Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this book. I try not to pin myself down to one or two genres so I occasionally choose a book that is not my typical read. This book is classified as "dark comedy," but I saw it more as "literary fiction."
Louis Malone was disfigured in a fire at age 16. He has remained hidden for 16 more years, perhaps showing up at the window with his face covered to hide his scars. He is a recluse living with his parents. Stories around town gossip that he is a monster, and this is how he sees himself.
Iris Shula is a nurse who lives in the same small town, although she hasn't lived there as long as Louis. Iris is short, overweight, and not pretty at all. When Louis falls out of his window, he meets Iris at the hospital, and the two share an unusual bond.
I did not like how the author made Louis seem so pitiful, which was how he created his life to be. And I didn't like the way Iris was described as being ugly, almost to the point of being unlovable. The author spent a lot of time describing things in colorful, flowery, poetic language. The symbolism was forced on the reader rather than happening naturally. And I didn't like the ending.
There was one fascinating aspect of the book having to do with one of Iris's other patients, but this was its main redeeming quality. This is the type of book that usually steers me away from literary fiction. It is too unrealistic, and the word choice is forced. It wasn't a horrible book. I liked it a little, but I didn't love it, and it isn't one I would rank high on a list of recommended reads. Alas, this sometimes happens when I venture out of my genre comfort zone.
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