Monday, June 7, 2010

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens

4.5 Star

Jessica Z’s world is altered when a terrorist attack hits her hometown. Her ambiguous relationship with her upstairs neighbour, Patrick, requires definition, but they’re both reluctant and when she meets sexy, seductive Josh at a party, her life twists yet again. Their relationship develops rapidly and Josh, who is a lithographer and artist, requests her to be his newest art project as the terrorism escalates. 

Lydia - 5 Star

I enjoyed this fast paced and thought provoking read. The voice was unique and clipped along at the same pace as the plot and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.

Klomparens writing was fantastic with the build up of tension incredibly well written. It was so subtle, yet kept me flipping pages with anticipation. My heart was pounding in my chest often as I worried about Jessica and those she loved.  As an aspiring novelist, I was also fascinated by the writing style as most of the novel is dialogue. There was description and her internal thoughts, but they were not as frequent, yet I could understand her motives clearly as well as picture the scenes perfectly. 

These were not the only elements I enjoyed in this novel. I thought Klomparen’s captured a female voice so well that I frequently forgot this novel wasn’t written by a woman. The art description was fantastic. It was intriguing and not bogged down in description  – a perfect balance. 

I also appreciated the lack of explanation about the terrorist attacks. It didn’t hinder the novel in any way, and even made the random explosive acts more frightening. There wasn’t much preaching of politics or religion as the cause and the lack of explanation might be the strongest statement of this novel. It was definitely thought provoking.

Although I was a little slower getting into this novel than Two Years No Rain, which I read first, it didn’t take me long to get attached, to worry about Jessica and tear through the pages to see what was going to happen next.  In this respect, I actually ended up enjoying Jessica Z a bit more than Two Years No Rain. 

This novel had terrorism, eroticism, relationship ambiguity, art, family, love and many more elements to it. I look forward to reading Shawn Klomparen’s novels in the future to see what world he’ll bring to us next!

Kathryn - 4 Star

I found Jessica Z interesting- didn’t love it and certainly didn’t dislike it but there’s something I was missing while reading it… maybe it was simply that there was a slight lack of warmth from most of the characters which made it hard to really get attached to them.  For me really warming to the people in the story is essential for a good novel.

Having said that I found the novel interesting in that the story was great and the subtext of the concern about terrorist attacks was really well integrated without overshadowing the rest of the plot.  In fact it was a fantastically written story and I never felt that it was too slow.

Our main character is a woman and she’s clearly not sure where she wants to be in life- at work or in her personal relationships- her path meanders towards an artist friend of her ex boyfriend.  I didn’t really care for the artist but I’m guessing I wasn’t supposed to.  He’s completely obsessed with his art and doesn’t really give much away about himself and yet she sticks around with him for ages.  The only character I felt had any warmth for most of the novel was the ex (and the sister)- interesting. 

I’m looking forward to reading another novel by Shaun Klomparens though and am interested to see if there’s more warmth for me to latch on to.

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