Girl Imagined By Chance. What a great title for a book. When I first looked at the cover, it conjured up questions and images, and compelled me to find out more about it. If I was to come up with one word to describe Girl Imagined By Chance, I'd say compelling would be it. A close second might be different, or possibly challenging, but both of those fail to communicate properly that this book is worth the challenge, and the things that make it different are the things that make it good.
What's obvious about Girl Imagined By Chance from the get-go is that this book has a very strong and unique sound to it. The rhythm of the words, the style of the conversation, and the way that the story is told aren't your typical Stephen King trash novel. From the very beginning, it's clear that this book is going to be a little more high-brow than that, but it's also clear that this isn't unbearably Robertson Davies hoity-toity. In truth, I think that the style of the book, the way that the story was told and the way that the story played with the pictures that were used to build it up actually went a long way to selling me on this one.
Girl Imagined By Chance is the story of a lie. It's a big one, as you can imagine by the title. It's the story of how lies take on their own meanings, become important to us, and threaten to ruin us if left to rage untended. It's also the story of how the little things we do lead us to make those little mistakes that grow into those monumental, life-altering fuck ups that we all live through.
The book, as I mentioned earlier, is built around a series of photographs that are used as reference points in the lives of the characters. I really enjoyed how the author took the old adage of a picture saying a thousand words and ran with it. Each chapter began with a new picture that hid within itself all the mysteries we were going to learn about, and as each chapter began, I found myself taking the time to stare at it and see if I couldn't understand what it was that was going to be revealed. I was a dreadful failure at this, but I couldn't help myself.
I'll level with you, though. This book is abstract. It doesn't read like run-of-the-mill fiction, and you can't be thinking John le Carre when you read it. This book is going to force you into the sometimes awkward position of paying attention to details, suspending disbelief, and sympathizing with characters who behave in ways we just can't sympathize with. But if you're okay with that, and if you want a literary experience rather than a pocket-sized escape, then this book is a great read and a great choice.