The Juice Bar

My muses, thoughts, ideas, and whatever

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink, a novel by Michael Snyder

I have recently finished a very funny novel by an intriguing new writer. The name of the book is "My Name is Russell Fink", and the author is Michael Snyder. It's a creative example of modern character-driven fiction, an odd love story with humor and heart.  It reflects the influences of writers like Douglas Coupland, Nick Hornby, Ray Blackston, and Carl Hiassen.

In the novel, Russell is a copier salesman with more than a few problems. He's in his mid-twenties but still lives with his parents, who have problems of their own, given his father is a failed faith healer, and his mother drowns her sorrows in a bottle. Russell is convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were kids, and the guilt haunts him. His brother is always borrowing money to finance his business. And he's trying to find a way to break up with his high-maintenance fiancée and get her to believe it.

At least Russell has the companionship of his dog. His allegedly clairvoyant dog that is. It seems that under the influence of whisky-soaked biscuits, Sonny the basset hound can predict the future. Until one day Russell finds his pet has been murdered.

Now Russell is going to try to find who killed his dog, while trying to figure out how to break up with his nutty fiancée while trying to figure out how to kindle a romance with a girl with whom he is firmly in the "friend zone". The book has plenty of oddball humor, but within the laughs, the story genuinely moved me emotionally.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fresh new voice. I can't wait to find out what this author does next.