Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THE LAST KIND WORDS by Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli is already one of my favorite authors even though this is actually the first novel I've read by him. I've read and loved a handful of his great novellas in the past year and have been infatuated with his sensitive but uncompromising writing. Tommy Pic doesn't disappoint in the full-length novel form either! Here, we follow the Rands, a family of Long Island thieves and burglars that go back generations who's strong bond has fallen apart after Collie, the oldest son, goes on an inexplicable killing spree that lands him on death row, and after the youngest son, Terrier, decides to abandon the family and go off on his own. But now after five years, Terry has returned and must confront this broken family that he deserted years before.

The characters pulled me in almost immediately, each one clearly drawn and familiar; each one deserving enough of their own novel. But the focus here is on Terry, a man haunted by the the potential legacy of the Rand name. Will he fall victim to severe Alzheimer's like his grandfather Shepherd, fall into the underneath and go mad-dog like his brother Collie, or will he simply just live the rest of his days in a house full of stolen junk; a faded, washed-up and lonely thief, breaking in to and creeping around in other homes at night, witnessing the lives of people happier than he is, and pining for his lost love? These questions haunt Terry throughout the novel as he knows that these are real possibilities. The themes Piccirilli tackles here are very similar to the one he explored in the last novella I read by him, All You Despise, the theme that the pull of family bond and obligation is almost impossible to explain, but can affect someone for the rest of their life. Both this novel and All You Despise can be seen as companion pieces, where Piccirilli tries to investigate why the power of family can be so strong and crippling. The novel is about family: longing for it, hating it, or simply just stuck with it whether you want to be or not.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful