2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: A Collar for Cerberus by Matt Stanley

“This thing about not hoping and dreaming – it’s important. You need to understand. It’s not that you shouldn’t dream or wish – it’s that these things are not substitutes for action. They’re placebos. You don’t know it yet – you can’t possibly conceive it – but life is unutterably short. We prevaricate. We procrastinate. We delay our pleasures and fulfilments in expectation of a time to come – but there’s no such time. The only time is now!”

I really really enjoyed this book – but then again, what’s not to like about a young whippersnapper tracking down and then chauffeuring his idol, a veritable Greek J.D. Salinger?

This is the tale of a young man who knows he wants more than what life has shown him so far, but the problem is he cannot conceive of what that more might entail. He is lost and looking to be found – and his solution is to track down his lifelong literary hero, a reclusive Greek Nobel Laureate who has been off the radar for some time now. When he finds him, his life changes in ways he could not possibly have imagined – and in ways the reader couldn’t have either. But don’t imagine for a second that this reads like a stereotypical vision quest – there’s much more to it than that, and that is largely due to the beautiful writing and the crystal clear voices that Stanley gives his characters. Each is unique and poignant and spot-on perfect to capture the lesson being learned (or ignored), and it is what makes the book so magical.

But beyond that, this was also such a fun read. It was full of piss and vinegar and the wisdom of a life lived (thanks to Irakles), unbridled optimism shrouded in anxious Millenial youth (thanks to our unnamed protagonist), and a cast of supporting characters that spans the range of human possibility and provides untold amusement, insight, and spot-on counterfoils time and again. The writing was brilliant – if at times a little too much so. It made the plot a little slow-building, but each sentence was a delight and well beyond worth the time it took to read.

“Only by following a path to its end could you know it had been the right one.”

I’ve seen other reviewers call this a love song to Greece. It definitely is that, and I learned a lot as a result. But it is also a love song to the importance of living life, not just letting it pass you by because of fear or apathy or convention. And I learned a lot there, as well… Kudos to Matt Stanley for managing to weave both of those things into one entertaining, tragic-comedic novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Many thanks to Thistle Publishing for introducing me to this fantastic book and providing my review copy.

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