2009: 19. Trombone

“The first time Ray Gollancz and his father, Dean, burned down a building, they drove from Bakersfield, California, to Chinatown in Los Angeles.”

Trombone, Craig Nova


In interest of full disclosure, I should say that Trombone is written by my dear friend’s father, which is pretty cool, but also a little awkward in that I worry that won’t like it, and then blog about it, and then feel odd.  I don’t know enough writers to be blase about sort of knowing the author...


Trombone is a well written book, but it is not the kind of book I like to read.  If I hadn’t read another book by Nova (and, frankly, been dear friends with his daughter), I’m not sure I would have finished it.  It’s a very noir-y book - it tells the story of a young man who is trying to figure out his life.  Will he stay in California committing arson with his father and drifting into a life of crime, or will he take the scholarship he has been offered at Dartmouth and  start a new life.  An interesting plot, but the story was so L.A./noir/masculine prose, that it just didn’t do it for me.  The writing is top notch - the characters all seemed real, and it did the kind of thing it was doing well, but I just don’t really like the sort of thing at all.  I much preferred The Good Son,* and I would read Nova’s other books, but I would only recommend this one to people who like, oh, Philip Marlowe, James Ellroy and Chinatown.


*One thing I did like about the book is how, like The Good Son, it explored the question of fathers and sons and their relationships.  Made me wonder about the author’s own relationship with his father, which then made me feel a little uncomfortable.


Date/Place Completed:  February 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017