Second Look: Yael Egal’s FLAT EARTH THEORY

World War II female spies?
Comic books?

Check and check.

Yale Egal’s novel sounded right up my alley.  And it was…kind of.

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Yael Egal’s Flat Earth Theory
Jacqueline Goldman, 2016.

Before we start the review, you can enter to win a free copy of this book over at GoodReads!  Check out the book page.

What It’s About:

Tess is a recently divorced mom of two young kids.  The divorce was ugly — her ex-husband, Patrick, cheated on her with numerous women, including prostitutes.  To relieve some of her anger, Tess turns to drawing comic book panels.  The subject of these panels is Andrea, a WWII spy in Switzerland.

Subplots include: Tess striking up an affair with handsome Guy, a French ex-patriot; Patrick being diagnosed with leukemia; a white supremacy group, NAFKA, targeting the French for bringing in Islamic refugees.

What I Thought:

I was really intrigued by this book.  (See above.)  And really, I wasn’t that disappointed in the premise.  I think I had expected a different story, thinking more of a protagonist set in WWII and drawing comics…so I was a little confused at the time-line of the actual story in the present.

The story does take place in the present.  (Egal references blogging, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and so on.)  The WWII part is Tess’s comic book alter-ego, Andrea.

Overall, the narrative was well-written and flowed easily.  I read this book in two days — which is major for me these days!  I also found myself wanting to pick it up and see what happened.  However, there were some parts that seemed disconnected or a little unbelievable.

Plot & Subplots: The main plot is Tess trying to find herself.  (Spoiler alert: She does on the last page.)  Within that, there are a lot of smaller plots that may work together, or may just add confusion to the main plot.  For instance, Patrick develops leukemia.  While there’s absolutely NO sympathy for this man (see below), it seems like an easy way out for Tess.

The NAFKA storyline was super intriguing.  I would have actually liked to see more of this throughout the story itself.

The ending seemed to happen too easily.  I was a little disappointed with the denouement of Tess’s affair with Guy.  But I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Characters: I liked Tess.  She was a great protagonist.  And I’m sure for the mothers out there, she’ll completely resonate with the reader.  She’s a strong character because, even though a lot of bad shit happens to her, she doesn’t let it really bog her down.  She just picks herself up and keeps going forward.

Patrick is a douchebag.  There’s really no other way to explain it.  He has no remorse.  Tess refers to him as a sociopath, which is accurate.  The reader actually wants him to die, I think.  (Well played, Egal.)

Guy is…interesting.  He’s French and charismatic.  That’s all I will say about him.

 

In the end, I’m glad I read this.  And I’d definitely recommend it to someone who likes similar storylines as this one.

Rating…

7/10 Stars

You can buy the book on Amazon, here.

 

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