Audiobook. While reading much of this book, I was conscious of its cleverness, and some of the bits made me think of Tina Fey. I think that means I haven't seen Steve Martin do a comic turn in a long time. The characters are well-described, but for much of the time, not too real. For example, Mirabelle, the shopgirl, in contrast to the completely unreflective Jeremy, "spins a cocoon around an idea until it is immobilized." This is fine until he goes a step too far when he describes Mirabelle driving home:
Mirabelle wears her driving glasses as she grips the wheel with both hands. She drives in the same posture as she walks, overly erect. The glasses give her a librarian quality before libraries were on cd-rom. And the '89 Toyota truck she drives indicates the librarian salary too.
Just what is "librarian quality" and how did it change when libraries went to cd-roms? And by 2000 when this was published, weren't libraries online? Despite a few cheap tricks like this one, the characters are sympathetically drawn and the plot develops nicely, if a bit improbably. In fact by the end, I was amazed at the fondness the author shows for each of the main characters and what a lovely resolution he gives us.
Steve Martin's second book, An Object of Beauty (reviewed here), shows much more complex and pleasing writing.