Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Allen Kurzweil

Some years back came across a wonderful novel by Allen Kurzweil called "A Case of Curiosities". The setting: eighteenth century France. The main character, Claude Page, a young boy with a talent for drawing and a fascination for mechanics. The story: a rollicking adventure through Claude's apprenticeships to several questionable benefactors and tradesmen, including a lascivious abbe and a pornographic bookdealer. I found Kurzweil's own passion for minutiae and intricacy as well as silliness made for a great read. (Warning: if you decide to give Case of Curiosities a read, I would strongly suggest having a dictionary handy. The man loves words.)
So, today as I was pricing the new arrivals for the children's section, I found a young adult novel by Kurzweil called "Leon and the Spitting Image". I was really curious to see how Kurzweil's voice translated into the juvenile market. I'm only into the book about 20 pages, but so far it's pretty good. He got off to a slightly shaky start I thought; maybe dumbing things down a bit as he got comfortable with the genre. But as the main character, Leon Zeisel comes to life, the story is taking off. Present are the characteristic puns and love of word play as well as appropriately weird elements. I have no idea where the story is going, but I trust Kurzweil to take me on an enjoyable adventure.

Update: Finished the book and found it really enjoyable. I've even been inspired to take up embroidery again.