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Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
10 posts | 9 read | 24 to read
A heady, inventive, fantastical novel about the nature of memory and the difficulty of confronting trauma An unnamed woman checks into a guesthouse in a mysterious district known only as the Subdivision. The guesthouses owners, Clara and the Judge, are welcoming and helpful, if oddly preoccupied by the perpetually baffling jigsaw puzzle in the living room. With little more than a hand-drawn map and vague memories of her troubled past, the narrator ventures out in search of a job, an apartment, and a fresh start in life. Accompanied by an unusually assertive digital assistant named Cylvia, the narrator is drawn deeper into an increasingly strange, surreal, and threatening world, which reveals itself to her through a series of darkly comic encounters reminiscent of Gullivers Travels. A lovelorn truck driver . . . a mysterious child . . . a watchful crow. A cryptic birthday party. A baffling physics experiment in a defunct office tower where some calamity once happened. Through it all, the narrator is tempted and manipulated by the bakemono, a shape-shifting demon who poses a distinctly terrifying danger. Harrowing, meticulous, and deranged, Subdivision is a brilliant maze of a novel from the writer Kelly Link has called a master of the dark arts. With the narrative intensity and mordant humor familiar to readers of Broken River, J. Robert Lennon continues his exploration of the mysteries of perception and memory.
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Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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Wow, this book totally sucked me in. It reminded me of old school adventure computer games, each chapter learning a bit more about what the story is about. I loved the dreamlike style, the lingering sadness throughout the whole book and the way it came together in the end even though I‘m not sure how it ends.
Books like this are why I love the Tournament of Books.

#Doublespin #Tob22 #Booked2022 #SetInAnInn #52books #AuthorsPhotoOnCover

Suet624 Ooohhh. You make it sound enticing. 2w
BarbaraBB @Suet624 I was surprised by how much I loved this strange book but I was probably in the mood for it. I think you‘ll like it too! (edited) 2w
Bookwormjillk I am a huge fan of old school video games. Stacking this now. 2w
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2w
4thhouseontheleft Great review! Moving this one up the tob stack! 2w
BarbaraBB @Bookwormjillk Me too, especially the point & click ones if you know which I mean! 2w
Ruthiella I really enjoyed the puzzle-like aspect of this as well. 😀 2w
Megabooks Wow! I am truly surprised that you enjoyed this so much, but totally pleased you did!! Great review! 2w
thebluestocking I‘m glad you liked this too! 💙 I really wanted a bit more resolution at the end, more of the puzzle pieces coming together. 2w
BarbaraBB @Megabooks I was surprised too. Just the right book at the right time I think. I spent some lovely hours escaping into that dreamlike world! 2w
BarbaraBB @thebluestocking I know, I‘m not even sure if she died or not? But I enjoyed the flow and all the clues and what to make of them. How it (almost 😉) all came together in the end. 2w
Flaneurette I really liked this one too. Great review! 2w
JennyM Fab review and pic! 2w
vivastory I have this checked out from the library. Might have to read it soon! 2w
BarbaraBB @Flaneurette Thanks! It‘s one of my favorites so far! 2w
BarbaraBB @vivastory You might! It‘s highly original and you‘d enjoy that! 2w
87 likes5 stack adds16 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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There were aspects of this strange book that I liked. But I do not enjoy books that are as opaque as this one, that leave me in a confused place. While I was intrigued by the themes around trauma, it didn‘t pay off for me.

#tob #tob2022 #tob22

Ruthiella I hear you on opaqueness. This one worked for me, I was able to fill in a lot of the blanks in a way that satisfied me. But other books which are similarly constructed don‘t give me enough. 2w
thebluestocking @Ruthiella It‘s funny how it works sometimes and doesn‘t. I know people were similarly frustrated with All‘s Well but that one worked for me. It‘ll be interesting to see what the various #tob judges think. 2w
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Megabooks I enjoyed this while reading it, but I‘ve already forgotten most of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2w
ReadingEnvy I listened to the audio and was completely lost! It will be interesting to see how it's handled by the judges. I also have an earlier book by this author in my botm backlog and I'm wondering if it's as strange as this, and if not, what made the author go this direction. 2w
ReadingEnvy @Megabooks I know what you mean, if nothing is as described then it's also nothing? What's important to hang on to? 2w
Megabooks @ReadingEnvy I‘m also curious about what the judges will write because I feel like I only got half of it. A weird book. 2w
Cinfhen Im not looking forward to this one 😬 2w
BarbaraBB I am in the middle of it and kind of liking but. I am curious to see if and what it builds up to! 2w
squirrelbrain I didn‘t mind this one, considering I usually dislike this sort of book. Like you @megabooks it hasn‘t stayed with me. 2w
BkClubCare @thebluestocking - me, me, me?! ✋ Can I send you In Concrete? 2w
thebluestocking @BkClubCare Yes! That would be perfect. I‘m pretty sure I have your address. Do you still have mine? 2w
BkClubCare You have my KS address? I moved in 2020. Do you still have a double 67 in street number? (edited) 2w
BkClubCare @thebluestocking - And I am just starting Concrete. It‘s short, tho! 2w
thebluestocking @BkClubCare I don‘t have your KS address. I just shot you an email. And no hurry on Concrete! 💙 2w
50 likes1 stack add15 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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I have no idea what is going on in this book, and it feels like any ideas I have could be spoilers. But it held my attention despite feeling lost in the surreal subdivision, and I think it will be a good discussion book for the Tournament of Books.

The audiobook narrator was good -I found this in Hoopla - but her somewhat prim tone became confusing in some of the weirder moments (depending on how you interpret these moments, it's probably fine.)

Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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I really enjoyed this offbeat novel. A nameless woman arrives at a guest house in the subdivision, not too far from a nameless city. She doesn‘t know quite why she is there, but for patient readers, the dream logic of the book will start to fall into place. I don‘t have all the answers and the book isn‘t necessarily “deep”, but I liked how it was a puzzle to be pondered. #ToB #Tob2022

Nute Intriguing! 1mo
vivastory I haven't read this one, but I like the two other books by Lennon that I have read. Both have stuck with me years later. 1mo
Ruthiella @Nute It was an intriguing read. 😃 1mo
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Ruthiella @vivastory I knew his name from episodes of the podcast Book Fight!, but this is the first title I‘ve read. I want to try next 1mo
vivastory That's one of the two that I read. It's one of the most unusual haunted house stories that I have ever read. The family dynamic in it was great, too. I also liked the following which scratched a bit of the itch that I had after reading, & loving The Animators 1mo
Megabooks I liked the way it came together as well. I had trouble getting into it, but she really finished strong. Glad you enjoyed it! 1mo
Ruthiella @Megabooks At first I had trouble too and was worried! This is also one of the many reasons I love the TOB: it introduces me to authors I normally wouldn‘t read. 1mo
Megabooks Truth! 🙌🏻 1mo
squirrelbrain Great review @ruthiella - I too had trouble getting into it, but thought that was maybe the audio and me being distracted with other things. I liked the way everything was slowly revealed (or not, in some cases!) @Megabooks 1mo
Ruthiella @squirrelbrain Thanks! I think there aren‘t necessarily answers to every question raised by this book and I actually liked that about it. There‘s things I think I “get” and others where I‘m happy to keep pondering them. 1mo
BarbaraBB Intriguing review. Happy holidays 🤍 1mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB Thanks. Happy Holidays to you too! 😃 1mo
Cinfhen Sounds good but maybe at the right time. Looking forward to reading, when my mind is less distracted. Happy Holidays 💚♥️💚 1mo
Ruthiella @Cinfhen Thanks! Reading while distracted is no fun! 1mo
Reggie What a lovely review. 1mo
Ruthiella @Reggie Thank you Reggie. 😊 1mo
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Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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This really isn‘t my genre at all but I liked it. It‘s a weird fever dream / magical realism kind of book, where you don‘t know what‘s going on most of the time. I‘m still not quite sure I understood it all at the end, but some of that may have been me being slightly distracted when listening to the audio. (Or maybe it would have been better in print?) Really interested to see the discussions on this one.


Ruthiella I have this out from the library and have read the first few pages. Yeah, this one is going to be a little surreal! 1mo
Megabooks I liked this at the time, but I‘ve already forgotten most of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1mo
71 likes1 stack add2 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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#tobshortlist #tob2022 I really liked this surreal dreamlike novel. I‘m not sure I “got” all the metaphors but I really don‘t think I was supposed to. I think you just need to go with the dream logic and see where you end up. If you liked Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin you may like this. I have so many questions about what happened I can‘t wait to see the discussion on the TOB.

Megabooks Great review! I‘m excited for this discussion too! 1mo
45 likes2 stack adds1 comment
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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How to rate and review this #ToBshortlist novel? The first 75% is a very confusing (to me) magical realism book. I prefer this genre in short stories because I try to make connections between the book and the real world in my mind. Frustrating. However, the last 25% is brilliant!! All the connections I couldn‘t make are laid bare in a truly beautiful way. Not my favorite but a solid pick!

@Cinfhen the #audiobook is great!

Cinfhen Will I hate the first 75%?? I think I‘m gonna try to #BorrowNotBuy 2mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I by no means hated it. I was just confused AF, fwiw. Good book though!! 2mo
Cinfhen I really DISLIKE magical realism 😩😖😝 2mo
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Megabooks @Cinfhen I‘m picky about what I like in this genre, but I‘m also trying to read more in genres I‘ve said I don‘t like in 2022 including magical realism, fantasy, and (least favorite) romance. Idk, I like to challenge my assumptions every once and awhile because sometimes I end up changing my mind. Maybe that‘s not right for you, but I find it useful! 🤷🏻‍♀️💜 2mo
Cinfhen No, that‘s a good point and I agree, every so often it‘s good to read outside your comfort zone. 2mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen And I feel like ones that are nominated for or win an award I respect are more likely to end up being enjoyable. (Though not always 😉) 2mo
BarbaraBB I‘m very intrigued by your review and I admire your eclectic reading. To me the challenges, the #1001books and the #ToB are my entrance to books out of my comfort zone. 2mo
BarbaraBB Have you seen @sarahbarnes review? She was as impressed as you are. 2mo
squirrelbrain I‘m not keen on magical realism like you @Cinfhen - your review leaves me intrigued though Meg. This is one I can‘t get hold of for ‘free‘ at the moment, other than on Audible. Is it worth using a credit for? 2mo
Megabooks @squirrelbrain it is a very well narrated book, and if you‘re planning on reading it for ToB, audio is a good way to go! 1mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB she wrote while I was reading the book, so I just saw that it was positive but haven‘t read it. I‘m impressed that you‘re doing 1001. That would put me way out of my comfort zone with all the classics! 1mo
squirrelbrain I think I‘ll risk this month‘s credit then Meg…. 🤞🏻 1mo
BarbaraBB I‘ve read the classics all my life and have been obsessed with that list of #1001books for years. But I‘ve read so many that a lot of obscure ones are now waiting for me. Definitely out of my comfort zone! (edited) 1mo
64 likes2 stack adds13 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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What a wild ride! I loved this book that felt much like being inside of a crazy, long dream. The first book I‘ve read by this author, and it definitely made me want to check out his other work. #ToB2022

Ruthiella Cool! Looking forward to giving this on a whirl! 2mo
BarbaraBB That‘s encouraging! 2mo
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB I‘ll be interested to hear what you think of it! 2mo
27 likes1 stack add3 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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My first new purchase since the #ToBShortlist came out! It‘s out now in print, but y‘all know how much I like audio, and so many are bad on audio or not available in that format. It‘s only $12 US, so I didn‘t use a credit.

Who all am I supposed to tag this year?

Cinfhen Let me know how it goes on audio!!! And I‘m curious to see who‘s getting tagged too!! I think @squirrelbrain 2mo
Ruthiella This one is supposed to be pretty weird... 😬 2mo
Mindyrecycles Please tag me too! 2mo
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squirrelbrain Yes please, tag me! 😁 2mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I will! 2mo
Megabooks @Ruthiella it sounds weird!!! 2mo
Centique I‘m fascinated by the sound of this one! 2mo
4thhouseontheleft Tag me too! 😀 2mo
Megabooks @Centique it‘s a bit hard to follow. About 40% in. 2mo
Megabooks @4thhouseontheleft I‘ll add you to my tag list! 👍🏻 2mo
67 likes10 comments
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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This novel is completely banana pants and I‘m totally here for it. The narrator arrives in the subdivision where the story unravels like a puzzle (glaringly, a jigsaw puzzle serves as a recurring metaphor). The story proceeds down false hallways and reveals both clues and red herrings about what is going on here. Weird and wonderful. #Netgalley #arc #audiobook

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