So, I’ve read this book twice, the first time in October of 2018, and I read so quickly—skimmed really—that when I finished the book, incredulous, I could only say, “What?” before giving up, defeated. “That,” I said, “is the end of my career as a detective.”
Sometimes it’s good not to know what happened, right? I enjoy when books let me linger over them long after I’ve finished reading.
Still, since the story had been such a joy-ride, I didn’t mind starting over, so in December 2019, I read it again. I even reread the last few chapters several times.
I still didn’t get it.
My Dubai-based book club chose the book for May 2020, and instead of rereading it again, I decided to let these smart people solve the mystery for me. Our discussion about the book on 19 May 2020 relieved me of my fear: I’m not the only one who isn’t sure what exactly happens. The story raises far more questions than it answers.
What’s amazing is that despite confusing me twice, I can’t wait to buy it. I’m saving it to be a post-lockdown treat, when I can finally reenter a bookshop and choose my own copy.
Authors, read this book if you want to experience a murder mystery with every last detail planned out, a story so extreme that it’s almost unfathomable. Are you a planner or a pantser?
Stuart Turton has admitted to being a planner. Excel spreadsheets, maps, pins in the wall wound with thread leading back to photographs…he’s also admitted that his “idea was the easy part, keeping track of all the moving parts was the difficulty.”
This book is a great example why you should release yourself from feeling guilty about planning every detail, keeping multiple spreadsheets, or having one giant, taped-together page describing the miniscule details of your book. You are not alone.
Readers, read this book if you want to disappear into a murder mystery dinner party, without all the trouble of dressing up, acting, or actually leaving your house. (Great lockdown activity!) You may leave the party without understanding who the murderer was, but you’ll have a great time anyway.
What I want to tell people about this book is if you like the game Clue(Cluedo), you want to read this book. I wrote to Turton on Twitter and asked if he’d consider making it a board game. The word’s still out on that, and I’m starting to wonder if I couldn’t just design it myself and pitch it once I’ve got something in hand. Clue needs a major update, and this could be it. Any game makers out there? Let’s talk.
Final word, it’s a fun book but read it, enjoy it, and don’t bother taking notes, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s far better just to reread it!
When I think about teaching my teenage-self economics, I’m sure even Hercules/Heracles would have given up. Luckily, another Greek has stepped up to the challenge, and Varoufakis wrote the book to teach his own daughter about how the economy was created and functions.
Authors, read this book if you need help with writing a nonfiction book that is conversational in style and breaks down complex concepts into bite-sized, digestible chunks. This book is a great example of how to write about difficult topics for an audience that wants to learn but not feel condescended to.
Readers, read this book if you want to better understand economics in general, but I find it very relevant to the current conversation surrounding the issues of easing lockdown measures during the covid-19 pandemic. We all understand people’s livelihoods are at stake, but Varoufakis’s structure demonstrates why it will be so difficult to rebuild. The information is presented in a way that unravels complex, intertwined systems (banks, money, markets, people) into individual threads. Those threads are then rewoven into the recognisable systems we know today. Some of my bafflement at how these systems could have ever come into being was eased, which made me feel much more part of conversation than I previously had.
What I want to tell people about this book is I remember the first day of my high school economics class. My teacher, Mr. Charleston, also my driver’s ed instructor—who, of course, rode a recumbent bike to school, taught us how to make a million dollars by the time we retired. When I was unpacking my boxes in London in 2019, I actually found those notes. I hadn’t realized I’ve been dragging them around the world for decades. I flipped through them but didn’t find anything useful to advance my understanding of what’s happening in the economy today, so I often ask my husband about ‘how things work.’ He gave me this book for Christmas and said he wouldn’t answer any more questions until I read it.
Dutifully, I read it in April 2019 and wished I’d had this book in high school. At the same time, I think high school is too late to teach these concepts, similar to how it’s too late to start teaching languages at that age. I wouldn’t have been interested or had the attention span for this book when I was fifteen.
Only now as an educated adult do I find myself finding my way into these important concepts. Varoufakis’s main message is not to leave the economy to the experts, and he means: don’t let your lack of understanding be part of the problem. If we don’t know the rules, we can’t play the game. And the game is really understanding how the people at the top are manipulating the money supply and how it will affect our daily life.
So if you’re like me and wish you understood it all better, this is the book to pick up. An easy quick (and not depressing!) read!
I read a lot and I hope to help authors with the craft of writing. I share good examples of difficult aspects of writing: point of view, narration, world building and more.
Occasionally I give editing tips and share insights from the world of publishing.
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