George Minotís The Blue Bowl has a promising premise: neíer do well son, banned from his fatherís home, lives in said home undetected for a while, right under dadís nose. Dad is killed. Son is suspected. Son doesnít care, because being a murder suspect frees of the responsibility of being a functional adult.
Itís a good idea, but Minot mires it in unlikable characters and confusing, distracting prose. Simon, the aforementioned black sheep, is ostensibly the main character, and, despite his flaws, the most sympathetic. Heís the one we learn the most about Ė an aspiring painter, heís always resented his father for many things, including his motherís death. There are a number of other siblings in the family, including actress sister Red, his resentful brother Timmy and another brother who narrates the story.
But weíre kept at a distance from all of them because of the way Minot tells the story. A story this twisted deserves a straightforward telling, but Minot jumps back and forth between different incidents in the familyís life. He also peppers his narration with such distractions as using the word ďlikeĒ so frequently as to be maddening.
Some of the early stuff, when Simon is trying to live in his fatherís house unnoticed, is interesting, with Simon having to figure out ways to, say, alert his dad to a stovetop fire without revealing his presence. But the murder plot is handled somewhat clumsily, and itís just difficult to care about these people. The book even ends with what Iím sure is supposed to be a shocking twist, but, because we havenít established much of a relationship with these characters, the whole thing rings hollow.