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Misconception: A Novel by Ryan Boudinot
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Misconception: A Novel

by Ryan Boudinot

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Misconception has likeable protagonists in childhood sweethearts Cedar and Kat, a good juvenile sense of humor, a somewhat original structure (oscillating between the characters' summer romance in their early teens to their awkward reunion in their mid-thirties), and a compelling sense that the plot is building to some mysterious revelation or insight into the human condition. I also found myself driven to finish the book quickly, and this page-turning quotient alone sets this story apart from the many plodding books I run across.

There is a bleakness to its portrayal of relationships, in the vein of Raymond Carver, but the author's comic voice offsets the darkness and injects a sense of optimism. The somewhat abrupt and ambiguous ending, while not for everyone, worked well for me, as your own sense of optimism/pessimism allows you to fill in the blank.

But finishing the story, I felt somewhat unfulfilled. The revelation of the truth behind Kat's conception and the circumstances that drove Cedar and Kat apart for two decades could have been heavy enough fuel to power a full-blown novel, but the author's decision not to elaborate on Cedar's and Kat's interactions after their reunion left the book resembling more of a novella in plot complexity and character development. As Ryan Boudinot becomes more comfortable with the novel form, I believe his talent as a writer will allow him to accomplish great things. ( )
  KevinJoseph | Jul 28, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080217065X, Paperback)

Cedar Rivers is on a strange errand. A doctor sidelined into the strange world of the first dot-com boom, he has come to Albany, New York, in between business in Iceland and home in Silicon Valley, to meet a woman he hasn’t seen in twenty years. Then a Chuck Taylor–shod proto-Goth with chipped black nail polish, Kat is now a literary up-and-comer who needs Cedar to vet her memoir—an account of the summer they were sweethearts. As if that weren’t enough, she’s written parts of it from his point of view. Through an intense weekend in a snowed-in motel room, Cedar and Kat relive their most painful memories: Before they had a chance at first love, Kat’s mother and her new fiancé dragged Kat off on a family trip. Kat returned with a secret, one which—when she shared it with Cedar—set off a series of drastically miscalculated assumptions that dominoed into a moment of startling tragedy. Misconception is a startlingly original debut novel—a smart and provocative coming-of-age story, and a fresh and witty comment on the unreliability of memory and storytelling—that establishes Ryan Boudinot as one of the most promising talents of his generation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:40 -0400)

Cedar Rivers has come to upstate New York, to help Kat Daniels, by vetting her memoir, an account of the summer they were sweethearts.

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