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review 2017-07-29 16:59
The Realm of Last Chances ★★★☆☆
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

Are there any “literary” novels that aren’t grim and depressing? If so, I haven’t found any yet. My takeaway from this one is that

everybody is hiding something, the only people who aren’t judgmental assholes aren’t interesting enough for character exploration but instead are simply receptacles for the interesting people, and since everyone is guilty of violating at least one rule of ethics or someone’s trust, then we shouldn’t judge each other for that kind of stuff, only for having tacky or popular tastes in entertainment and/or conservative politics. Oh, and all sins are fairly equivalent: academic dishonesty, cheating on your spouse, embezzling from your employer, giving someone a (deserved or undeserved) beating that hospitalizes them, armed robbery, or being a swinger.

(spoiler show)

In spite of these flaws, this is a well-written story with interesting characters and plot.

 

Hardcover, purchased from Half Price Books on the recommendation of the now-defunct podcast Books On The Nightstand.

 

Previous Updates:

7/22 – 27/288pg

7/24 – 82/288pg

7/25 – 96/288pg

7/28 – 199/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-28 14:52
The Realm of Last Chances: 199/288 pg
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

Now she was lying in bed, in a musty room where the accumulated dust of the coverlet made her sneeze each time she crawled under it, and a man who could have gone to jail for embezzlement was asking her if she could possibly overlook academic mischief. 

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text 2017-07-25 13:23
The Realm of Last Chances: 96/288 pg
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

Nope, still no empathy. But have to credit the author with really vivid character creation, even the most minor of them. Although I think as each character is introduced, we are learning more about whichever of the three main characters that is interacting with them. They sure are a judgmental bunch of assholes.  

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text 2017-07-24 19:01
The Realm of Last Chances: 82/288pg
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

So this guy is

an embezzler who asked his elderly mother to borrow the money to pay back his employer, is a snob about books & music (a girl who "never read anything serious" and listened to Cyndi Lauper is only interesting because she's beautiful) and thinks of dogs only as "props".

(spoiler show)

I hope I'm not expected to find him either likable or sympathetic, but he's clearly one of the story's protagonists. I believe I'll be cheering for him to experience more misery and loss, regardless. 

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text 2017-07-22 18:29
The Realm of Last Chances: 27/288pg
The Realm of Last Chances - Steve Yarbrough

Lately, he felt insubstantial, weightless, as if he were merely the idea of a person rather than the real thing. People weren't just a past or a present or a set of extinguished expectations. They had to have a future, too, and for himself he failed to see one. He felt as if he could readily be brushed off, as if right now, should he choose to, Nowicki could swat him aside as if he were no more momentous than a fly or a gnat. 

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