Re: RARA-AVIS: Like A Hole in the Head by Jen Banbury

From: Karin Montin (
Date: 21 Feb 2008

I think I'll reread it one of these days.


At 07:16 PM 19/02/2008 -0500, Joy wrote:

>Karin, you must be the one who told me about this book. It's odd and unique,
>the protagonist is a conscientious, courageous flake, and I liked it very
> I never cared for the bookman books.
>Victoria Two
>>I started out hating Like a Hole in the Head. The book store clerk lies
>>when it would be easier to tell the truth and is rude in language and deed.
>>I was on the verge of quitting after a few pages when I decided to continue
>>a little in order to see more of the structure, and because I know to trust
>>the titles reviewed here. Somewhere I got hooked and wanted to know what
>>would happen next. This is a book difficult to like and then really
>> Karin Montin <> wrote:
>> I really enjoyed Jen Banbury's Like a Hole in the Head. Check the
>> archives (easy to search, lots to find) for some conflicting opinions. She
>> is apparently a freelance journalist for NPR, and others, and
>> still doesn't seem to have published another book.
>> This is what I wrote in July 2001:
>> A couple of months ago I came across Like a Hole in the Head, by Jen
>> Banbury. The back cover blurbs compare her to Hammett (George Pelecanos
>> delivers a rave review). She does not seem to have written another novel
>> yet.
>> The protagonist is a clerk in a used-book store, and one day a strange
>> dwarf sells her a rare Jack London first edition. Trouble starts when he
>> wants it back and she doesn't have it anymore. A rather picaresque
>> adventure ensues, as she stays up for days on end drinking nothing but
>> booze and coffee, eating nothing but odd bits of candy and other junk. The
>> cast of characters is interesting and the tone is humourously hardbitten.
>> Motorcycles, cars, even guns, against the backdrop of the
>> second-hand/antiquarian book trade and the movie industry. Reminiscent of
>> the "bookman" books, but only to a degree. I liked this one better. I
>> thought it was great, although the ending was a little murky for me.
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