101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic

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101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic

Category: Short Stories
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sophie Diamond
Reviewed by Sophie Diamond
Summary: A collection of stories exploring brief snapshots in the lives and thoughts of other people.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 204 Date: June 2015
Publisher: And Other Stories
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781908276568

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101 Detectives had me baffled. The book comprises of a collection of stories which explore multiple themes from the perspective of one person. The stories are very varied in form, theme and character. This exquisitely written book leaves you asking many questions and pondering many ideas.

It’s quite difficult to describe what 101 Detectives is about, I would say that it’s a book you need to interpret for yourself, however the main theme I took away from it was identity. Stories have characters questioning, who am I? and also, and less commonly written, who are you?. It explores our interaction with other people as much as the thoughts, feelings and actions of the protagonist of the story, deconstructing our differences in some ways, whilst reaffirming our sameness in others. Confused? I was too.

101 Detectives is an intellectual puzzle. Perfect for a coffee table, university lecture, or high brow book discussion. This is not light reading. Even after finishing the book, I couldn’t shake off the need to ask a teacher to explain the finer points of what Vladislavic was getting at. Unfortunately, no such professor was available in this case, but I fully expect a lecture on this book to be intellectually mind-blowing. It’s experimental, fragmented and full of insinuations, which made me more uncomfortable than if the thing itself had been said.

While I appreciate the writing and concept behind this book are brilliant, I didn’t quite get it. Reading for me is primarily about enjoyment and I can’t honestly say I enjoyed this book, I found parts of it quite hard work and felt like I was clutching a straws searching for the meaning. However, it is vitally important that challenging books, such as this, continue to be written to push the boundaries of the written form. Vladislavic has created a work of art that I have every confidence will continue to be de-constructed by reader-detectives for many years to come.

If you like the idea of exploring another culture, try An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

Buy 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic at Amazon.com.


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