Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Roger Morris' "Taking Comfort"

Rob Saunders just wants to feel safe, but the world is a dangerous place.

Rob Saunders is the lead character in this stylish novel by Roger Morris. After witnessing a suicide one morning, Saunders impulsively picks up the notebook the girl dropped, and is strangely comforted by the presence of this souvenir in his briefcase. But as we read further into the book, we learn that Saunders is not the only character who finds comfort in routine, in physical objects, in hopes and dreams that may never be realized (yet are always on the horizon).

Every character in this book is affected by--and witness to--Saunders' movements in his daily life, and in fact, through use of different POVs, we know what they are thinking and feeling, know how they react to Saunders' increasingly obsessive actions as he seeks out more and more tragedies (and souvenirs), and know what their own quirks and "comforts" are. People crave their routines, while also yearning to break out of their ruts and do something exciting or spontaneous. Conversely, if their routine is upset, they feel lost. But how can one feel safe and comforted in this increasingly unsafe new world of terrorism, climate change, and suicide bombers anyway? That's the question Morris poses.

As the story progresses, Saunders' desire for more and more comfort drives him (ironically) into more and more dangerous situations. In the end, something has to give. Morris' use of short chapters and different character POVs really keep the pace of this novel fast, as each chapter flows perfectly into the next. If you are looking for a quick, engrossing, different book to read, I highly recommend Roger Morris' Taking Comfort.

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