The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Reviewed by Desere

The Book of Speculation was without a doubt one of the most fascinating I have read this year, yet also very nearly missed the mark all together and I am torn between assigning it 3 or 4 stars .  It all starts in the Watson family home, when a book gets delivered to Simon Watson.

For as long as he can remember he has had one of those lives where most certainly things will start going wrong the very moment they start going right. From an early age he raised his sister, Enola, after their mother committed suicide and their father passed from grief. After raising his sister he has stuck around in the family home, which by the way is falling to pieces , pretty much just like his family life, and his sister could not wait to take off.

Enola is a free spirit just like her mother, and also apart of the entertainment lifestyle.  Simon pages through the book and as he does he starts to connect a series of dots that all lead back to his family, the family of the neighbors he has known his whole life and the life of the sender of the book.

The dots become alarming when Simon makes the connection of all the woman in his family as far back as his great grandmother, all having committed suicide by means of drowning themselves and all of them on the same date, a date which is fast approaching and to make it worse, his sister is home and very close to water.

I have already said too much, and anything more will ruin a read that is for the most part worth reading. I will add that as fascinating as the secret in this book is, it is just as easy to solve the puzzle. Don't get me wrong the puzzle is one that is interesting and engages the reader, but at the end of the read it was almost disappointing , I was expecting it to be more elaborate in some way. And for me the read ended with me asking " Is there another part to this book?"

The read is however quite magical , as it bounces between the realm of magic and reality, a very different experience from what I have found in similar reads , but as stated above it lacked that wow factor in the end when all the dots to the puzzle was connected, and as I said it was rather easy to connect the dots, the author did a great job at attempting to keep it all mysterious but in the end it did not turn out that way.

Something else that might bug a few readers is the fact that there are so many names in the read , it's literally a range of carnival entertainers, family members, people from the past, people from present. For the most part the author does go into detail about most of them , but there are the ones that I wished I she would be more detailed about, because they formed a part of the book.

Overall worth the sit down, but lacking some elements to make it a stand out read.

4 star review
" Mermaids drowning, tarot readers foreseeing curses and one man who has to break the line of tragedy" 

Available at Penguin Random House South Africa