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Breaking and Entering (1988)
by Joy Williams
278 pages
Vintage Contemporaries

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Liberty and Willie are a Florida couple in their 20’s who spend their time breaking into other people’s vacation homes, living there for a time, and they leave without taking anything but make sure to let the homeowner know someone was there. The novel doesn’t have much of a plot, though as it progresses the two start to drift apart.

This was very much a book of two halves. In the first half or even first two thirds I was quite engaged with the story and enjoying it. But the last part changes the tone considerably, and from there it’s a real chore to get through. It’s even fairly clear where exactly this happens — according to the book, it includes a few parts that were published as short stories earlier, and it’s one of these sections added in, which goes back to the couple’s experiences as adolescents, which really breaks up the feel of the book, and makes it hard to feel for any of the characters, since they come across as being very unpleasant.

I do like the cover though, it matches the book aesthetically. Actually, this book is so modern even the entire text is set in a sans-serif font, something I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered before in a novel.

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