Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ingram Interview - K. B. Dixon

Just about a year ago, I read and reviewed K.B. Dixon's "A Painter's Life", a curious little collection of thoughts about a fairly accomplished artist and his life of struggles.  This book, by the way, has gone on to earn a number of accolades and awards. 

So I was pleased when Mr. Dixon contacted me about his newest endeavor, "The Ingram Interview".  I warned him of my three-month TBR Dare, but that I would pick it up come April.  And at 120 pages, it was a pleasant way to start back into my crack habit of chasing the newest, the latest and greatest releases. 

Synopsis:  Daniel Ingram is a retired, slightly curmudgeon-ish fellow in his early 60's who has recently had a heart attack.  He resides in an assisted-care facility (as he is divorced and not speaking with his only child) while he rehabilitates.  He soon is asked to leave because his dour attitude is bringing everyone else down, so he moves in with a former student and indie film-maker. 

Things are happening around Daniel...a thief on the loose in the assisted-care home, a movie being made, his friends struggling through their lives.  Daniel ambles through an attempt at a memoir, he hopes to reunite with his ex-wife, he contemplates his personality and its effect on those around him.

Not real complicated plot, is it?  But the uniqueness is in its structure.  Some unknown entity (a friend, a nurse, Daniel's conscience) asks prompting questions of Daniel, and through Daniel's responses we get the story of his life, from important highlights to the mundane. 
The memoir? 

Exactly.  Back to scribbling - this time about my days working in a bookstore.  I thought I knew books pretty well, but I was there six weeks before anyone came in and asked for anything I had even heard of.  It was six more weeks before anyone showed up looking for something worthwhile.  I don't know what I expected give the nature of the store and its location in the middle of a middling middle-class suburb, but it was something other than that.
What is going on out there?
A brouhaha.  Roger Booth has attacked Karl Moody with a croquet mallet.  The incident is being investigated.  A committee is being formed.

My thoughts:  This book made me laugh.  Daniel Ingram is quite a character, almost to the point where I feel that I know him.  He is feeling his age, he is grumpy, he is judgemental, but there is still life and humor left in him, buried deep under his malaise.  I know people like this!

What I really wanted to do is jump into the book and shake the guy.  He's only in his early '60's!!!  Goodness, I know people that age who run marathons and work 80 hour weeks.  Some of my dearest friends are that age!  Daniel was acting like he was 80, and it was maddening, in an endearing way.

I honestly can say that I've never read anything quite like Dixon's books.  In the cases of both this book and "A Painter's Life", you have quick and sudden access into someone's life.  Not a high-profile person, just some person from the street almost.  You have access to thoughts, emotions, their surrounding community and friends, on an intimate level.  Then you're done.  120 pages, in and out.  There is a certain level of cleverness in this.  I couldn't stop thinking about Daniel and his daily minutia because it was yanked away from me, almost mid-thought.  Hey wait!  Did he finish his memoir?  Did he get anywhere with the ex?  How did his friend's movie fare?  Did he lighten up or did he work his way up to another heart attack?

Quick, quirky, fun and clever.  That would be this book.  I'd like to thank K.B. Dixon for another opportunity to experience his work, and wish him luck on the next round of awards coming his way!

4 out of 5 stars 

5 comments:

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a good one. I'm with you...I know plenty of people in their sixties that are super active!

Martha@Hey, I want to read that said...

Sounds like a fun read. I hadn't heard of the author before. I'm going to have to add this to my ever growing TBR list.

heidenkind said...

"He is feeling his age, he is grumpy, he is judgemental, but there is still life and humor left in him, buried deep under his malaise."

That sounds like me. :P

Zibilee said...

This sounds like it would be a lot of fun. I like that the book leaves you mid-stream and forces you to ask your own questions about what happens to Daniel, and I think I can totally relate to feeling a bit curmudgeonly. I am going to have to find this book!

Jenny said...

What a unique and clever way to structure a book! Sounds interesting... Like getting a peek into someone else's life and thoughts.