Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'A Naked Singularity' Book Review

Sergio De La Pava's novel's beginning chapter opens up with the passage: "the system, needed to be constantly fed former people in order to properly function so that in a year typical to the city where the following took place about half a million bodies were forcibly conscripted. And if you learn only one thing from the ensuing maybe let it be this: the police were not merely interested observers who occasionally witnessed criminality and were then basically compelled to make and arrest, rather the police had the special ability to in effect create crime by making an arrest almost whenever they wished." With this quote you come to realize that "A Naked Singularity" is not a normal novel.

The book, which is a three-part narrative, follows the story of a public-defense attorney named Casi (which is Spanish for "as if"), and opens by following him during a regular day as he confers with a series of clients through the merciless process also known as the New York criminal justice system. The critique of the U.S. justice system and the problems with fiercer designs of law and order are told in great detail exposing all of its naked ugliness.

The first 250 pages of the book continue following Casi through his day. We are introduced to his neighbor, a Colombian psychology student who decides toward the end of the book to change his major to physics to find the greater truth in things We are also introduced to Casi's family, who come from Colombia and have personalities just as spicy as Colombian food.

Part two of the novel digresses into numerous topics about the issues in today's society. The novel talks about how those flaws are apparent when depicting the descriptions of a beautiful girl walking through a room. It also discusses the problem with the war on drugs, and how hard it is to quit any kind of drug, including caffeine, once a person gets started on it. It discusses why everyone, including McDonald's, likes criminals.

Part three concludes with a crime and all the crazy things that happen after the incident. At the focal point of the book, there is a complicated argument with the close of an exciting crime. The final pages will make your heart race, and the conclusion puts everything together.

At the end of the novel, the back cover reminds us that "you have to decide, this instant, who and what you are. Are you saint, sinner, or something in between, because nothing's worse than in between. To disappear into the lumpy, undefined center when the lure is so clearly found at the edges. No one aspires to mediocrity. Mediocrity withers and dies with nary a notice; its practitioners rendered mute by their race to the middle. Sinner or saint, that is your question."

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