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The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel af…

The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel (udgave 2014)

af Chris Abani

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
12611165,924 (3.8)8
Determined to solve a series of murders before he retires, detective Salazar turns to Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in psychopaths, to help determine if a pair of conjoined twins he apprehended are the killers.
Titel:The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel
Forfattere:Chris Abani
Info:Penguin Books (2014), Paperback, 336 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel af Chris Abani


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» Se også 8 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
It really wasn't a book about Las Vegas at all. Book had a lot of potential but didn't live up to it. Title is deceiving, like they didn't really know what to call it. ( )
  danjrosenbaum | Oct 29, 2020 |
Odd little book and it will not to be to everyone's tastes. There are few "likable" characters in it. However, they have a compelling narrative. Just don't assume that it really has much to do with Las Vegas in any conventional sense. However, there is congruence in the city and the seediness that fills so many of the characters (us). I will have to pick up other works by Abani. ( )
  Scott777 | Apr 20, 2020 |
For my video review of the book, go here: https://youtu.be/4uMDTQT61ts

I thought this was a very interesting story. It wasn't quite what I expected from the summary on the inside flap--I thought it would be a murder mystery, but the cause of the mysterious deaths the detective is investigating is revealed to the reader almost immediately. That being said, there are still some mysterious elements to the story, such as the motivations of a pair of conjoined twins, which are worked out over time. I also enjoyed the writing; though the story was definitely gritty and dark, the prose still had an artful quality about it.

It should be noted first and foremost that a lot of characters in this book are rather unpleasant and hard to like. People are very openly rude to the twins, including their nurse in a hospital. The phrase "Fuck you" is thrown around a lot, even from one psychiatrist to another in what should be a professional situation. In general, it felt like Chris Abani went out of his way at times to make characters almost unbelievably unpleasant. That being said, there are still a lot of characters that have redeeming qualities, and I did find myself liking Sunil, who is arguably the main protagonist. I personally found the unlikable characters tolerable, but you should be prepared on reading this to see the darker side of humanity.

Another complaint I had about this book was that it does spend a lot of time in flashbacks and can even get a little info-dumpy about the characters' history. Sunil, our main character, comes from South Africa and experienced the hardships of apartheid. Much of this story is actually about the things that happened to him in South Africa, and while these diversions into the past made sense in the later parts of the book when I could see how everything was going to tie together, it felt very dense and unnecessary in the beginning. This book introduces you to a wide range of characters early on, and the fact that it also kept jumping into the past felt almost too much until the significance of these stories started to become more clear.

Perhaps my biggest complaint about this book, however, was the science behind the twins. Externally, one twin has his own full, relatively normal body, while the other twin is simply a head and two arms sticking out of his side. It is also said that the smaller, more parasitic-looking twin is unable to do things such as digest solid foods. Yet upon further examination of the two of them, they are discovered to be two very separate twins who don't share any vital organs, etc., and it is said that they could have been easily separated as children. This strikes me as strange. I find it hard to believe that an otherwise normally-shaped body could fit two full sets of organs without further complications. A later development in the plot makes Abani's decision to have them completely separate internally even less logical. Toward the end of the book, we learn that Fire, the smaller twin, was actually born brain-dead and Water, the fully-formed twin, has been controlling him and performing ventriloquism to make everyone think they are both alive. This would make way more sense if Fire were truly parasitic and dependent on Water. As it is, if they are so separate, Water shouldn't have the ability to control Fire's part of the body at all, as their neural circuitry should also be separate. Truly, the only reason Abani had to give them two separate organ systems was so that he could say that doctors offered their mother the option of separating them at birth, which she declined out of concern that the smaller twin would die, but this is the exact kind of thing that would occur with a parasitic twin. In general, parasitic twins are removed in order to give their fully-formed sibling the best chance at life possible. So I honestly have no idea why Abani went with this more nonsensical biological explanation.

The last negative thing that I have to say about this is that the story didn't get tied up quite as neatly as I would have liked. There was a sort of love triangle going on in the background of all the more thrilling material, yet nothing ever comes of it. By the end of the book, neither of the potential romantic interests have been chosen, which makes me almost question their purpose to the story. I don't think we needed two love interests if our main character was never going to commit to deciding on pursuing one of them; their small contributions to the other parts of the story could have been combined into one character. I was also a bit unclear about the significance of the drum of blood found with the twins at the beginning of the book. I generally know why it's there. It is dismissed toward the end as a means that the twins used to attract the attention of the police, presumably so that they could attract the attention of the police and eventually be put into a position to bomb the institute. How they knew that the institute was tied up with the investigation is unclear. What's most unclear, though, is where they obtained that blood in the first place.

All that said, I did enjoy this book a lot. It was refreshing to read a book with such a diverse cast--almost every single character was a POC, and, of course, there were conjoined twins. There was also a character that I think might have been intended to be trans, although that could just be my little LGBT-loving heart reading into things, as nothing was definitively stated.

I would recommend this book for people looking for a unique, gritty thriller and for those interested in stories about apartheid-era South Africa. I would definitely read more by this author. ( )
  NovelInsights | Sep 21, 2019 |
Effectively paced, dark, often moving mystery novel. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
I read this book back when it came out. I just realized that I never got around to writing my review of this book. Not because I did not like this book but because I loved this "freakin" book. It was both a combination of awesomeness and freaky. I was so in awe of what I read that I needed to digest everything before I wrote a review. Although I must admit in the beginning I was not sure what I was reading. Yet, the further I read the more I liked the story and the characters. This book has the feel of American Horror Story. A favorite show of mine. Water and Fire are like ying and yang but they complement each other. Detective Salazar is another strong character. He started out closed minded but by the end he and I were both open minded. This is a must read. ( )
  Cherylk | Jun 18, 2016 |
Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
In the end, what lifts the novel is its energy, the audacity of Abani’s imagination, and most of all the breadth of vision that supplies its moral context. “The Secret History of Las Vegas” has a global sweep and — what’s often aspired to, but rarely achieved in a novel — a feeling of thematic unity. Fire and Water may perform at the Carnival of Lost Souls, but the true lost souls of the book are the ones with not physical but moral deformities. Fire and Water’s relationship finally becomes the emblem of a mutuality that has vanished from Sunil’s life. The most obviously damaged turn out to be the purest of heart.
tilføjet af ozzer | RedigerNew York Times, MARCEL THEROUX (Jan 24, 2014)
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There is no refuge from memory
and remorse in this world.  The
spirits of our foolish deeds haunt us,
with or without repentance.
   -Gilbert Parker

History is a nightmare from which
I am trying to awake.
   -James Joyce
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My siblings who allow me
To be a crazed animal: I love you all.
and Sarah
Who taught me grace.
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This hands cannot do.
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Determined to solve a series of murders before he retires, detective Salazar turns to Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in psychopaths, to help determine if a pair of conjoined twins he apprehended are the killers.

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