THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh
Release Date: 1 August 2017
My Rating: 4.5/5
The Blinds is a closed community, deep in the deserts of Texas, where the worst criminals and the victims of terrible crimes live side by side. The twist is that these residents have no idea which one they are. Before moving to the Blinds, The Fell Institute snips the trauma of their pasts right out of their heads. They have the chance to start anew, no past transgressions, or horror, to occupy them. Sheriff Calvin Cooper has grown comfortable, his little town of forgetting people growing slowly. When a shooting occurs in the early morning hours, and the only weapon in town is the Sheriff’s, a mystery dredges up things that were better left alone.
A mystery wrapped in speculative fiction wrapped in literary fiction. Sternbergh’s prose is consistently beautiful, his descriptions weaving a world that is both vastly lonely and chokingly intimate. Reading Sternbergh is an indulgence; each chapter is flavored with emotionally charged situations and is relentless in its exposure of the complexities of prejudice and morality. Sometimes this hypnotizing language, and the hyper-present themes, interfered with my ability to relate to the characters. It was Sternbergh’s main narrator, Calvin Cooper, who gave me the most trouble. Calvin is the quintessential unreliable narrator. He never lets the reader in on the whole truth. Because I could never trust him, I struggled to engage fully in his tale. Shoutout to Dawes who, despite being a supporting character, is wonderfully relatable. I looked forward to the brief segments that let me see the town through her eyes. I think that Sternbergh writes women better than he writes men, which is, by the way, a high compliment for a gentleman author. Hoping for a leading lady in his next novel. An excellent read with enough thrills, mystery, and danger to satisfy the summer reader, but with the thought-provoking material to enable this novel to pack a punch year ’round.