Thursday, December 20, 2012

7 DAYS AND COUNTING by Suvi Lampila


Two strangers meet, possibly for the first time. Then the countdown begins.


7 Days and Counting is my friend Suvi Lampila's debut novel. I wrote about her book launch last month, and this week she officially released the e-book edition. Her novel features an experimental structure and a thought-provoking ending. The events of the seven days are told first from the perspective of the woman, backwards, and then from the perspective of the man, forwards. The structure plays with one's perceptions and twists traditional plot conventions. Suvi proves that a story can have a satisfying climax and plenty of tension, even when you more or less know what happens "next". She goes far beyond the common practice of putting a scene from the end of the story at the beginning, and reveals surprises with each day.

There's always a danger when reviewing a friend's book that you will be too kind. However, I can honestly say that 7 Days and Counting is an extraordinarily clever piece of writing. It's short, not much longer than a novella, but it packs quite a punch. I finished reading it several weeks ago, but I'm still going over the final scenes in my mind and trying to decide how to interpret the ending. It's a book that forces you to think, and you could easily read it a second time and view it a totally different way. Part of Suvi's inspiration comes from pictures, like the one featured on the cover, that look like completely different things to different people.

Suvi's writing is precise and intelligent. She uses clean descriptions and clever dialogue to slowly reveal the lives of her characters. You get the sense that she always knows what her characters, even the  minor ones, are doing when they are not in the scene. She plays with the idea that there is usually more to people's actions than meets the eye, and human relationships are never simple. This is a book that's worth at least one read, and probably two.


Suvi Lampila's website


$4.50 for the Kindle edition


What other books with a non-traditional structure have you read? Did they work?

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