Friday, August 01, 2008

Citizen Vince

Citizen Vince by Jess Walter won the Edgar Award in 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike anything I've read in a while, this book is politically aware and so personal about the main character that I felt I knew him. I mean I really want to know who he voted for.

from the back of the book:
Darkly hilarious and unexpectedly profound, Citizen Vince is an irresistible tale about the price of freedom and the mystery of salvation, by an emerging writer of boundless talent.

Eight days before the 1980 presidential election, Vince Camden wakes up at 1:59 A.M. in a quiet house in Spokane, Washington. Pocketing his stash of stolen credit cards, he drops by an all-night poker game before heading to his witness-protection job dusting crullers at Donut Make You Hungry. This is the sum of Vince's new life: donuts and forged credit cards—not to mention a neurotic hooker girlfriend.

But when a familiar face shows up in town, Vince realizes that his sordid past is still close behind him. During the next unforgettable week, on the run from Spokane to New York, Vince Camden will negotiate a maze of obsessive cops, eager politicians, and assorted mobsters, only to find that redemption might just exist—of all places—in the voting booth. Sharp and refreshing, Citizen Vince is the story of a charming crook chasing the biggest score of his life: a second chance.

There are discussions for reading groups here. The New York Times review calls it "refreshing". The International Herald Tribune says,
For readers who appreciate wry precision and expert timing, it may be enough to know that "Citizen Vince" arrives with sky-high praise from both Ken Bruen and Richard Russo, with whom Walters shares these qualities. For others, the book's fusion of humor, crime and politics may be recommendation enough.

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