Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

City of Strangers by Ian MacKenzie

July 14th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


I give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Description: Faith, family, and the weight of history intersect in this remarkable debut from a rising literary talent

A cold, gray Sunday dawns on New York City to find Paul Metzger trudging through the winter streets to visit his past. He goes first to see his estranged, decades-older half-brother; then his dying father, whose notorious early life still haunts his children; and finally the ex-wife he cannot help but continue to love. But a fourth encounter—violent, unexpected—sets in motion a chain of events that will forever change Paul’s life, as well as the family he’s struggled so long to understand.

I cannot say I really enjoyed this book although it was not as bad as I was expecting after reading the first few pages.  Initially it seemed like MacKenzie was just trying too hard with phrases like “The exhausted, somnambulant city…” and “the cholesterol of automobiles” and was trying to use every long word he could find in the thesaurus.  That did improve as the story went on although it still felt disjointed with so many different facets of Paul’s life being covered.  On one hand the story seems to focus on Paul’s relationship with his father, brother and ex-wife and then it seems like MacKenzie felt the need to throw in a suspense story as well.  I did not feel like the two meshed well to form a cohesive story.

I wish we had heard a little more from Paul’s father on what his thoughts were about his previous devotion to Hitler.  I think my favorite part of the book was the funeral in which his father’s neighbors stands up to tell his story of how he knew Paul’s father.

Posted in 2 Star Books, Books, General Fiction

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