Friday, April 25, 2008

Book: Matala, by Craig Holden (2007)

Craig Holden’s Four Corners of Night is a big, bruising heartbreaker of a novel. His latest, Matala, is short enough to be read in a single sitting and sharp enough to wound. It’s dark, sexy, twisted. Kinky in every sense, which I intend as a high compliment.

Darcy is a spoiled American girl fresh out of high school, sent on a European tour by her wealthy parents. Naturally, she gets bored at once. In Rome she falls in with Will, another American who’s grifting his way across the continent. Will, in turn, is in thrall to the older Justine, a veteran con artist who looks at Darcy and sees nothing but opportunity. The three of them agree to smuggle a package to Greece, and before the trip is over all manner of masks will slip.

Here’s the best way I can plug Matala. A meme currently making the rounds ask you to open the closest book. Turn to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the next three sentences. (Yeah, I don’t get it, either.) No one has tagged me – what, you think you’re better than me? – but Matala was the closest book when I first came across it. I give you the result:

They had each other to keep them amused and happy and satiated. And she certainly felt all three of those things. Will had proved to a robust and durable lover, and Darcy did not feel disappointed in him except at the furthest edges of her desires.

Tell me you don’t want to read more.

Miscellaneous: Links

The AV Club’s exhaustive primer on my musical hero, Elvis Costello. King of America is a personal favorite.

Roger Ebert on Joe Vs. The Volcano. Via Bill Crider, a charter member of the JvTV fan club along with yours truly.