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Friday, 29 February 2008
by Patricia Wood
I’ve been reading Ms. Wood’s blog since its inception but this book never really appealed to me until I saw it for sale in the local supermarket
It’s set in modern day America – I had the feeling of Maine or Connecticut – and tells the story of a man, Perry L. Crandall who lives by his routines. His life is shattered when his grandmother, who looks after him, dies. The rest of his other family, who had given him up because he was ‘slow, swoop in and encourage him to sign away the house she left him. When, by lucky chance (“Gram always said the ‘L’ stands for Lucky”) he wins the state lottery, his friends rally round and try to protect him from his mother, his brothers and their wives who all want to wrest the money from him.
It is a sweetly written book, told from Perry’s point of view as he spends his winnings trying to make people happy. In the end it is Perry who is happy, as he realises that people should get what they want.
I enjoyed reading ‘Lottery’ although there was very little conflict. Perry has little understanding of death and copes admirably with the three in the book. The bad guys remain safely two dimensional and, like life, get away with their bad behaviour. Although the novel had none of the page-turning compulsion of Mark Haddon’s “Curious Incident” (where there is a similar character) I found it reminiscent of the gentleness of, say, John Irving’s ‘Hotel New Hampshire’ and I look forward to reading her next.
reviewed by Rachel Green