Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Sara's Face

by Melvin Burgess
Melvin Burgess has an incredible knack for dreaming up situations that sound like they could only lead to the cheesiest book in the world, yet making them entertaining and easy to buy into by virtue of his fantastic writing. His book Lady, for example, is about a teenaged girl who turns into a dog. Ridiculous? Sure. But he writes it so that the experience of being a dog seems like it must be realistic, it is so plausible.

So here, he writes about a rock star who has, teaming up with a gifted but unscrupulous plastic surgeon, pushed the boundaries of surgery well past normal or accepted. As a result, after years of constantly morphing his appearance, his face has collapsed. Still, he won't be kept down, and reinvents himself with a mask that propels him to even greater heights of global fame.

Sara, who considers herself a piece of performance art in her own way, is awestruck. She takes to wearing a mask of his face as much as she can, even before she burns her face with an iron. As she recovers, the great star Jonathon Heat visits her in the hospital, taking her under his wing and into his home, where he says he will nurture her talent, fix her face, and make her a star. The question is - is that what he really wants? Sar begins to have suspicions that he and his surgeon want her for a whole different reason, and that she may not even be the first.

The book has good suspense, an ending horrible enough to satisfy but not as bad as it could be, and a premise of evil plotting that leaves you with some delicious little chills. At the same time, for those who are inclined to a good think or good discussion, there is plenty here for that, too.

Not the kind of book I'd say you have to read, but a good little thriller, and just shocking enough to make you want to.

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