Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Jonathan Tropper - Everything Changes (Review)

Jonathan Tropper's novel Everything Changes opens with an earthquake, and a similar seismic event is about to disrupt the perfect life of Zachary King.

This is what happens. You are about to get engaged to a fantastic girl who is way out of your league but who for some reason is head over heels in love with you. You have a decent job, a rent-free apartment in Manhattan and things can only get better. Except you think you have fallen in love with the widow of your best friend and your long-lost father has just turned up with a constant, Viagra-fuelled erection.

Tropper has been styled as America’s answer to Nick Hornby, and in a sense that’s a fair description. He is certainly very good at the ‘30-year-old male angst’ thing, and everything in this book rings true. If, like me, you enjoyed How to Talk to a Widower then you will probably enjoy this, too, but I was a little disappointed. Everything Changes is a good read but it isn’t quite as funny as Widower when it’s funny, and it isn’t quite as heartbreaking either.

The reason, I have since discovered, is that Everything Changes actually pre-dates Widower and is being released here in the UK some three years after its 2005 publication in the States. Tropper has improved since then.

Having said that, I enjoyed the pacey way Tropper kept the story moving, I liked most of the characters and even though I found the ending a little too syrupy for my taste the twists and turns getting there were neatly executed and often unexpected. If you haven’t read Tropper yet then this is a good place to start. Everything Changes is good, but it’s not quite in the same league as How to Talk to a Widower.


Mary Witzl said...

I've heard of How to Talk to a Widower, but not Everything Changes. How odd that his first book has come out after his second one.

How to Talk to a Widower sounds like something my husband would enjoy. Now I'm thinking of it as a possible Christmas present, so thank you for that tip!

Kanani said...

He's so cool. I'll have to look for this book. What I like about John Irving is that he never loses site that he's telling a story. His characters are always interesting and imperfect, and time really travels.

Anyway, last night on Charlie Rose, he interviewed Richard Russo. You can find it here: Charlie Rose.

Paul said...

Thanks, Kanani. I'll check it out!