Derick Dover is a young attorney working as an associate lawyer for an old established Boston law firm. He is hoping for a partnership with the growing firm and has become involved with another lawyer named Maria Parma whom he works with. She is vaguely fickle and unavailable but emotionally and physically toys with him. Additionally he is handed a botched up and impossible to win environmental case involving children with cancer, which it is clear needs be won if he is to make partner.
Although the above synopsis may sound a bit dry and the title of this book is slightly awkward, don’t let that fool you. This novel is not. It is a story which is completely addictive. The writing is intelligent, and flows easily, being sadly humorous at times. I devoured it in short order.
It’s Derick’s story as he navigates his world, examining it in terms of his choices and life’s meaning. Although he seems to be making all the wrong moves and wallowing in them, his humanness and personal insight is apparent. He is complex, revealing, and vulnerable. It’s exemplified when he mentions some thoughts about his father:
Men like my father, it seemed to me, honest, optimistic, making their decisions on something less than a solid knowledge of the rules, were just pawns of larger interests, and it was this impotence that I determined to avoid by becoming a lawyer. At the time I had no idea – though I did already begin to suspect in law school – how inadequate my analysis was.
In the end the novel appears to be about the choices we make and the ones which we believe create our lives. But in actuality, its about the “crap shoot” that often defines our future. The conclusion supports this with its improbable twist. Highly recommended at 4 stars.
For more information about David Schmahman as well as purchasing links go to Layers of Thought’s Preview of Nibble & Kuhn.
Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.