Meandering. Don’t even think about trying to read Jesse Ball’s novel, The Way Through Doors, while at the beach or on an airplane. After any distraction, I found I had to go back a few pages to see if I could catch the thread again of where I left off and what exactly was happening. This quirky and meandering quality is either the charm or the defect of Ball’s prose. I lost patience and charged ahead to finish the book, mostly to make it stop. Protagonist Selah Morse witnesses a taxi hit a pedestrian, and he decides to go with her to the hospital, where he weaves a complicated and convoluted story to help her recover her memory. The stories within his narrative begin to seem to be going somewhere, and then peter out before any resolution is achieved. Ball creates an alternative reality that may appeal to some readers, but for me, I became more irritated than satisfied as I continued to read. There’s a fine quality to Ball’s prose that merits my two-star recommendation to those readers who are game to give him your time and attention.
Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)