Illustrados. Miguel Syjuco.

Syjuco, Miguel. Illustrados. Hamish Hamilton Canada. F; 1/11.

This is the only book I can remember starting to read a second time. I stopped the second reading when I read some online reviews and realized that my perplexity was shared by others, and was probably part of the author’s intention. The narrator goes by the author’s name, trying to track down what happened to a mentor and friend, also an author, who dies at the start of the book. There is a hodgepodge of faux-factual but meticulous-looking documentation, including quotes from the mentor’s many books, articles, and correspondence, all dated credibly. Several dreams are ambiguously involved in the events. In the end I’m confused as to who really died, when he died, and whether the author and the mentor are the same person, although he would have to be fictional otherwise the author couldn’t have written the book. Hm. It’s the old reality-and-illusion creator-and-created thing, which is great when it’s done well as it is here.

Overall, good writing and lots of fun, and the difficulty in following the plot (plots, really) is fair enough, with the odd exception late at night in frustration over what the hell is going on. Life’s like that, and the jumbling (it must have a name in creative writing) works to get at truth, reality, art, and like all of that jazz. 8.2

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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