Written by Books

The Paperchase


This is one of those books you just pick up at the bookshop without knowing anything about at all. Well that’s how I came to it at any rate.
It’s a slim novel that details a short period in the life of Damian, who suddenly inherits an uncle’s house on the island of Ionia somewhere off Cape Cod. To say that the novel goes nowhere would be to do it a disservice, but I couldn’t too easily summarise the plot and not suggest that it meanders. Damian moves in, meets some of the people who his uncle knew, reminisces about his childhood holidays there, and tries to learn more about his uncle.
The culmination is a short story about Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s cleverer brother. Is this a clue to real events that happened on the island?
One of the reasons I bought this title was that it had won a Somerset Maugham Award. I suppose that given the kind of books Maugham wrote in his day, I assumed that it would mean that there was more of a thriller or whodunnit element to this. There isn’t really and that’s no bad thing – nobody needs to read too much crime fiction, least of all me.
Would I read another Marcel Theroux book? Certainly. Oh and yes, Marcel is son of Paul and brother of Louis. How many more Theroux family members are there exactly? And will they leave some space for the rest of us?