Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: Dr. Brinkley's Tower by Robert Hough

Robert Hough's vivid, lusty, and wildly imaginative new novel takes us to 1931 Mexico and Corazon de la Fuente, a war-ravaged border twon where the only enterprise is a brothel in which every girl is named Maria. Enter Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, inventor of a miraculous "goat gland operation" said to cure male impotence. When Brinkley decides to build a gargantuan new radio tower to broadcast his services, he chooses none other than Corazon de la Fuente for its site.
The town's fortunes change over night, though not all to the good -- word of the new prosperity spreads, and Corazon is overrun with desperadoes and mercenaries itching to reopen old wounds, Worst of all, Dr. Brinkley has attracted the affections of the town's most beautiful citizen, Violeta Cruz. But with the help of a motley but impassioned band of allies, including an octogenarian Casanova, a brooding Spanish nobelman, and th much-despised village witch, Violeta's spurned finace, Franciso, decides to fight back.

What attracted me to this book...

-I want to learn how to write humour.
Dr. Brinkley's Tower was a Governor General's literary awards finalist

-I enjoy reading books written by authors whose authors' voices are markedly different than my own.

-As a resident of a small community, I was intrigued by the blurb.

Favourite Quotes...

'the sky above were losing patience with the sun and on the verge of telling it to go warm some other planet.' (p. 216)

Robert Hough taught me how to use 'and' effectively
'Volita stepped out before a huge pink stucco mansion with turrets and fountains and rose gardens and tennis courts and marble Roman columns and a swimming pool the size of a Corazon de la Fuente city block' (p. 24 - 25)

Reading experience...

As a fan of old-time music, I chuckled at the conclusion of Chapter 18.

I, as a reader, felt removed from the story by the storyteller voice and the use of some Mexican words. As someone who has little knowledge of the Mexican language, I would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of a Mexican to English language glossary.

I enjoyed how the reader is led mouthful by mouthful to the conclusion of page 299. Excellent use of suspense. 

I appreciated the inclusion of thought-provoking questions at the end of the book.

Dr. Brinkley's Tower reminded me of Animal Farm.

At what price progress...
How easily the weak can be victimized by the powerful...
You don't know what you've got until it's gone...

Author Robert Hough's interview