A Good Man: A Novel
An enigmatic, baffling story about a so-called “good” man and the women in his life. This book describes the slow, inevitable decline of Thomas Martin, who is constantly striving for control. The reader follows him through meeting Miriam, her meeting his family, their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Ava. Years later, Ava and her friends from her school make a joke about being sugar-babies without knowing what it means. It resulted in a heated argument about how they should discipline their daughter. Thomas, wanting to take away all Ava’s tech, confines Miriam, who wants to talk it out and reason with Ava. After a failed ad pitch Thomas is fired after being accused of assault, this causes him to lie to his wife. Mustering up enough courage, Thomas discovers that Miriam was going to leave him. Leading him to murder his wife. Picking up Ava from his mother’s home, Thomas takes her to the beach where he also murders her.
The plot was both original and intriguing. It, at first, paints Thomas as the innocent man who just wants to do all that he can to protect the women in his life and has the reader craving to learn more about his life –just like Miriam. Then the reader starts to question his motives when he loses control over things that he should know he can’t control. Then, finally, the reader is thrown aback by his reactions to his losses of control. From major event to major event the plot flowed and made sense: the less control Thomas had over things, the less control he had over himself.
Katz was able to effectively tell the story of Thomas’ downfall but also tell the story of his life as if it were just another biography; allowing the reader to get to know Thomas and the women in his life.
There was just enough dialogue so that it felt as though I was living through the events being recounted. Katz was able to place subtle clues that hinted at the inevitable end of the story. There wasn’t a clear moral of the story, but the lesson the reader can take away is that some things are just uncontrollable and that sometimes we need to let go of these things. When it comes to the question of who should read this book there are many things to consider: the language, the plot, and the events within the book. Katz uses words that are not commonly used every day like, “morass” and “ephemera”. Based on the events in the story, I would recommend this book to ages fourteen and up. The interests would be a very small circle.
This book does remind me of two stories. Tannhauser: this one she mentions throughout the book. The plots are very similar. The protagonist, Tannhauser, commits a grievous sin, where he is forced to admit and go on a journey to the place where he will be able to receive forgiveness. The Sandman: particularly, E.T.A Hoffmann’s rendition of the famous story in 1816, where Nathanael is constantly peppered by thoughts and fears of Coppelius being the Sandman which drive him insane and push his love, Clara, and his family away from him; as a result, he is forced to take his own life by jumping off a building. The line that connects all of these stories is the protagonists had something that they are forced to give up because of themselves and they are not able to cope with it, which forces them to do something that cannot be undone.
I would recommend this book because of how much I liked the plot and because you can learn so much from Ani Katz’s debut book as a writer. To conclude, this was a well-written story but not one for the faint of heart.
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