Review: The Keepers of Truth, by Michael Collins

Well, that was a waste of perfectly good reading time.  The Keepers of Truth starts out with a mystery:  a man disappears from a small midwestern town, and his ne’er-do-well do son is automatically a suspect.  Bill, a reporter for the local newspaper, is on the beat but for some reason doesn’t want to cover the investigation; instead he wants to write Really Great Prose about the meaning of life and how the crime is somehow representative of the sad decline of small towns and American industry in general.  Bill is a recent college graduate but comes across more like a 40-year-old suffering a mid-life crisis.  The other main characters are all various archetypes of the American white male.  Women are cast in subservient roles, primarily as waitresses or cheerleaders.  Their breasts fall out of their blouses and they reveal their underwear with alarming frequency.  Even the woman TV news reporter is objectified.

As if that weren’t enough, the story darts all over the place.  Bill is on the scene reporting the crime.  Bill pines after his former girlfriend.  Bill spends all night in a diner, several nights in a row (how does he go to work the next day?  Beats me).  Bill decides to prepare for law school again having failed the first time.  Bill pines after his girlfriend again.  Bill joins the police chief in rounding up rowdy high school students cruising the main drag.

All that in just over 80 pages.  By then I’d had enough.  The Keepers of Truth was nominated for the 2000 Booker Prize, competing against a field that included The Blind Assassin (which won), The Deposition of Father McGreevy, English Passengers, The Hiding Place, and When We Were Orphans.  Go read one of those instead.



7 thoughts on “Review: The Keepers of Truth, by Michael Collins

  1. Sounds rotten! Thanks for the warning – it’s obvious the best book won the Booker that year! (I love The Blind Assassin).

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