The Plainview Lottery: A Town Learns a Hard Lesson in Basic Economics Kindle Edition
by Markas Dvaras (Author)
This book started off so promisingly but ultimately lead to disappointment. I am not suggesting you ought not to buy and read it. One man’s poison… you know what I mean. A warning – there is a spoiler at the end of my review.
The author started off with such a witty premise – the lottery fever that infected Plainview, a fictional small town in America. A model town, I suspect belongs to history, possibly in the 1950’s. He uses the lottery and its effects as an allegory for the ills of modern society. I liken it to a modern Aesop’s Fable.
The author tells his story through some great characters, the reporter, the factory owner, and Old Mr. Miller, besides others. He utilizes some great dialogue to spin the yarn and keep the story moving forward.
But, and a big but, is he uses too much repetition. I found I could only take so much of the description of the “magical” lottery tickets to use but one example. It struck me the author was trying too hard to ram home a point or two. Most readers are not stupid. They get it!
There are also too many pieces of “magic” in the tale. Okay, with many novels it is a norm the reader will suspend belief surrounding one piece of “magic.” But to overdo it invites the reader to switch off.
I am striving not to be overly critical. The author must be applauded for tackling this story in the manner he did. He almost pulled it off. It was a real page turner well into the book then petered out as the repetition kicked in and yet more magic took place.
Satire? Yes, it was satirical and well written satire at so many stages of the book. It also made me stop and think about the issues – the ills of modern society. It wasn’t until the Plainview tale had finished that I realized what the author had in his sights. It was the internet. To paraphrase Old Mr. Miller who was referring to the gold bars but could have been referring to the internet – if you can’t eat it, wear it or live in it, I don’t need it.
The author reveals his main target in two short stories following the end of the Plainview saga. This is where he turns amateur philosopher – a device that was unnecessary and irked this reader. He joins forces as himself in a dream world with the likes of Albert Camus and an Ancient Greek in what was clearly an illustration of the point of the Plainview story. Again, readers are not stupid and do not need the moral of the story ramming down their collective throats.
It was a brave and possibly foolish device to place himself as the author within a debate with some of the world’s greatest philosophers. It made me think the author has no humility.
As for the second short story involving a fictional President of the United States – well, what can I say, another pointless exercise in a totally gratuitous explainer. Stick to writing novels, sir! You are actually a good storyteller but leave the morals and philosophy at home next time. Rather, please be more subtle and weave it all into the story. It will make for better reading I can assure you.
One further message – the author queries what use to mankind is the internet. One answer is that it allows authors to bring their works to the attention of the world. Long live the internet!
My quandary now is how many stars to give this book? It is highly readable but flawed. The author must not be discouraged as he has a real talent for writing fiction. Two stars means “I don’t like it.” That isn’t the case. I liked it with reservations so it has to be three stars meaning “it’s okay.”
The spoiler, so do not read on if you intend to read this book – why didn’t anyone in Plainview adopt the simple expedient of travelling to Covington? The author tells us it was a neighbouring town. Surely, the intrepid reporter, James, would have done so?