Beautiful Children: A Novel

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Click for availability and more information Beautiful Children: A Novel, by Charles Bock

Charles Bock has written a fantastic Las Vegas novel that is nearly devoid of gambling and casinos. The focus is primarily on those folks who live in Vegas; the kind of folks who are rarely mentioned when it comes to Vegas. Some work in casinos and nightclubs, some work in pawn shops and others don't really have much of a vocation. Some are down and out, some are confused but Bock manages to portray most of them with kindness. What makes them stand out is that they are rendered in a way that makes them believable. There's Newell Ewing, a 12 year old boy with ADHD and a comic book obsession. The story orbits around his sudden disappearance. Bock uses this disappearance to introduce a wide variety of characters; Newell's distraught parents, a stripper and her odious boyfriend, a pathetic comic book artist and a gang of street kids. These characters collide in the books amazing finale, which leaves the reader with more questions than answers. What's also stunning about this book is the way it's written. It is one of the most self-assured first novels I have ever read. Bock seems to choose his words thoughtfully. He has confidence in his characters and his story and apparently feels no need to show off like many debut novelists. And, despite it's grim setting and, at times, bleak outlook, there is a sort of hopefulness that underlies this book. Although it may not seem like it at first, most people end up doing the right thing...or at least trying very hard to do so.
-Stephen

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This page contains a single entry published on July 25, 2008 5:48 PM.

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