Sunday, November 19, 2017

Moving Kings by Joshua Cohen

The style of this book was a bit unusual - very long run on sentences and paragraphs, often like streams of consciousness, which were at times hard to follow.  Occasionally I had to backtrack to pick up the thread again.  But, given the chapters were written from the perspective of various characters, the format was actually quite realistic as doesn't everyone's mind wander in this way.

The novel starts from the perspective of David King, the owner and manager of King's Moving in the New York City area.  While David has built a large business, he seems a bit disreputable.  He has recently divorced his wife after she discovered his long time affair with his office manager, he is on barely speaking terms with his daughter who is herself a recovering addict, he hires a motley band of employees and his company's specialty is evicting delinquent tenants and mortgagors from their homes and repossessing their belongings.

David has hidden some money in Israel since a visit there many years earlier to a cousin and her family.  His cousin's son, Yoav, has just completed his compulsory army duty and is sent to work for David (illegally).  He struggles with the unstructured nature of civilian life, language, working with men of different origins and sensibilities and having to throw people out of their homes.  He is later joined by Uri, his partner in the army infantry who is clearly suffering from PTSD.  Entering peoples homes and evicting them brings back painful memories of their time in the "occupation forces".  As both men try to adjust, a violent encounter with a vengeful homeowner leads to tragedy for Yoav and Uri and sends David into hiding.

Though the writing style was sometimes hard to follow, I found the narrative gripping and the characters fascinating.  I liked how we saw things from the perspective of each of David, Yoav and Uri - all who had very distinct voices.  I recommend this book, but not when you're in the mood for a light read.

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