Reading Martin Guinness is a double pleasure. He knows how to tell a story that attacks our senses like a magnet, but he also knows how to write in a manner that is a bit rare these days. His playfulness with the English language is refreshingly new, his ability to tap the reader on the shoulder (or the funny bone) with surprising little incidents that are completely unexpected and then make something ongoing about those moments as the book rolls along reminds this reader of the pleasures of reading Philip Roth: challenge the mind while sneaking in an indelible story that makes you forget you just read something that will linger in your puzzlement memory long after the book is finished.
The opening brief chapter is like a stab in the back of the hand that is going to turn the pages in this gradually unfolding journey we take with Max Wheeler. It is rather startling to have the main character's wife of thirty three years die abruptly, but that kicks off the tale of an aging television foreign correspondent who some time later is in Baghdad gazing out at the fireworks of war while a tagalong brilliant photographer watches and eventually pairs with Max—and that begins a episodic journey through the strategies and dangers of Max's occupation and the people who enter and leave his life of discovering who he really is and has been.
Not that love after a certain age is a new topic or that the physical changes that advancing years hamper our style, the tautness of our skin, the gradual detumescence of our libido machinery, or the resilience of our spirit are novel concepts, but the manner in which Martin Guinness molds them touches us inmost every chamber of our brain and memory. He is a fine writer—right at the age where reflection has enriched his sensibilities.Grady Harp, June 13 (Amazon #37 Top Reviewer)