Saturday, July 24, 2010

George Dawes Green's Ravens (2009)

I saw Ravens in the staff recommendations section at Barnes & Noble.

I'd not heard of George Dawes Green but liked the three-sentence summary on the back: a Georgia family wins $318 million in the lottery and becomes the target of two dysfunctional drifters passing through town.

I like the book so far.  The writing style is easy and fun, with 1-3 page snippets from the points-of-view of the various characters.  It's written in a 2009 milieu: lots of references to the ways the internet has changed our lives and the dichotomy between the real connections of people in a small town and the virtual connections that just about anyone can make via current technology. 

The main characters are Mitch, Patsy, Tara and Jase Boatwright (the unwitting family) and Shaw and Romeo (the drifters).  Tara is best buds with her grandmother Nell, who strikes me as a bit too much of a cooky older lady caricature -- echoes of a Janet Evanovich character who is more annoying than funny.

The setting is Brunswick, Georgia, and I am trying to remember if I've read any other novels set in Georgia.  Yes, I've got one: Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, which as I recall takes place in suburban Atlanta and captures well the striving businessman culture of the 1990's.

The thought-experiment of how winning the lottery jackpot would change your life and outlook is a really fascinating one.  I guess that's why it is a plot device in a number of books and movies.  I wonder what I would do?

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