A Perfect Night to Go to China

I added A Perfect Night to Go to China by David Gilmour to my list when it was nominated for the GG’s (errr Governor General for you non-Canadians) award for English fiction (it won actually).

It’s a short book so it didn't take long to read. Roman leaves his young son alone for 15 minutes to sneak down the bar to see a band and have a drink and when he comes back his son is gone and how that affects him and his life.

I’ve since read a fair amount of reader criticism about the book. I think it’s one of those things where people who don’t normally read literary fiction will pick up a book because it’s won an award. And then it’s not like the books that they are used to reading and they scratch their head and wonder why the heck that this is so great. (Don’t think that I’m down on people who don’t read literature – I’m the queen of trash, chick-lit, trashy chick-lit, etc.) I have a feeling this will end up on high school or university reading lists.

I’m not saying this is a bad book. It just doesn’t follow the trade fiction routine of telling you everything you want to know about the characters. I've read a number of reviews by readers who really did not like it. It doesn’t have the conclusion that you expect or want (some people have said that it doesn’t have a conclusion at all). Some people find it really offensive that he was at a bar when his son disappeared (would it have been better if he had gone to the store to get milk??? or to Starbucks for a coffee???).

Apparently the author went though 17 versions of this book before ending up with this one. Hearing things like that makes me curious. I always want to know what changed...