A Choice of Enemies By George V. Higgins


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A Choice of Enemies

This was a hard book to get into, because of the vast array of characters, I think, but once you broke though and picked up the rhythm, it was a great book--if Tolstoy have been covering Staties, Millis, Dorchester and the South Shore Mall. George V. Higgins A little boring compared to his others, with just people talking about conspiracies and crime rather than anything really happening. George V. Higgins 3.5 stars. This one is a bit more wild and wooly than his earlier, thinner crime novels. Instead of tough guys on the streets of Boston, Higgins turns his attention to the world of politicians and reporters. It doesn't make for the same kind of forward momentum, unfortunately. Plus, there's a huge buy-in here, with like 20 guys you gotta remember right from the first chapter and they're classic Higgins characters so they're a bit indistinguishable. Still, as the novel progressed, and the shape of the very oblique plot made itself clear, I liked it a lot. Certainly not the best place for a Higgins newbie to start: too discursive, too oblique, too shapeless for the uninitiated. For the hardcore fans only, I'd say. George V. Higgins Giving this 4 stars but might be compelled to round up to 5 eventually.

My journey through the novels of Boston author George V. Higgins (this was his eleventh) continues with this, his longest and reportedly favorite of all his books. It's 377 pages and reads longer than that because of his trademark digressive gutter-poetry brand of dialogue, which makes the story hard to tease out, to the extent that there is one. That this deliriously profane, quasi-theatrical conversating comes from a seemingly higher class of people (lawyers, politicans, newspapermen) than the two-bit conmen and thieves he usually writes about is, I would assume, part of the point.

The general knocks on Higgins apply here as well: All the characters are fairly indistinguishable from each other. Scenes go on for several pages longer than they need to because even ordering a beer requires a page or two of rumination. The ostensible protagonist, Massachusetts House Speaker Bernie Morgan, is off screen for roughly 75 percent of the book.

And yet! I was moved by this book, taken in by Higgins' obvious affection for his characters -- particularly the bellicose Speaker himself -- and his elliptical way of telling the story, which moves from character to character like a satellite, advancing the story incrementally while filling in a universe that feels as richly authentic as any other, and I am feeling bereft now that I've left it.

I think this is maybe his best book since Eddie Coyle, with an added resonance and maturity to boot. George V. Higgins A remarkably witty, dialogue heavy, novel about political corruption. Higgins is a wonderful writer of lengthy scenes of groups of people talking, his naturalistic and occasionally hilarious dialogue is what the whole novel is built upon and where it succeeds. It is an astute novel about the vagaries of politics, with a cynical eye for detail. A really enjoyable read. George V. Higgins