Anne Tyler once said that It
Happened in Boston? ďis so ingenious that summing it up is next to impossible,Ē so I
guess I shouldnít feel bad that Iím having a hard time putting it into
Originally published in 1968, this book has become a bit of a
cult classic -- probably because of its uniqueness and imagination. Boston? is
the story of a talented artist whose life spins out of control. He gives up his art and
spends his days in Bostonís Public Garden, having out-of-body time-travel experiences and
attempting to avoid the other unusual people who flock to the Garden. He eventually
decides that thereís something wrong with the world -- and itís his calling to hunt down
God and kill Him.
Boston? is not, by any means, a quick, casual
read. Itís written in a style thatís similar to a Tarantino film -- it skips around
chronologically, and I often wondered if the narrator was describing something that just
happened or something that happened ten years ago.
From the bookís first
sentence, ďLately I have come to feel that the pigeons are spying on me,Ē I knew I was in
for a roller-coaster ride. And thatís exactly what I got -- though it was more like one
of those roller-coasters thatís ridden totally in the dark, with no knowledge of what
comes next. It could be a trip to the park, a story about how the narrator once painted
an exact replica of the Mona Lisa (replacing her famous smirk with a big, toothy grin), a
conversation with young Randolph and his pet (stuffed) frog, Sebastian, or a description
of the narratorís run-in with his hated neighbor lady. But thatís what makes
Boston? so captivating.
If youíre looking for an alternative
to...well, to everything youíve ever read, pick up a copy of It Happened in
Boston? But before you begin reading, fasten your seat belt, and please remember to
remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop.