I had a hard time getting into Mystery Girl by David Gordon. The book was about a failed novelist whose wife left him, searching for a “real” job as requested by his wife. Sam Kornberg is esoteric in his interests, an English major who is fluent in obscure films and books, disdaining so much of the mass market today. And to me, the book felt much like a Philip Dick novel that I had such a hard time reading back in college, though I know he has legions of fans.
Kornberg’s only job option comes via email from a job search site where he has the option to become an “assistant detective” for a beyond obese man who wants him to follow a mysterious girl and report back. Kornberg agrees because he needs the job, but it quickly becomes a comedy of errors when he is almost caught watching through her window at night then has to shoo away a neighbor”s dog who wishes to eliminate in his hiding spot.
The detective, Solar Lonsky, may not be willing or able to leave his house, but he has amazing powers of deduction. He deduces almost exactly what happens with the dog and other issues throughout their interactions. When Kornberg reports to him, Lonsky doesn’t want Kornberg to provide a standard report but instead share what he’s been thinking and feeling and observing without any notes. Over and over again. From that, he is able to puzzle out what to do next, as little as it makes sense.
The book is told in first person by Sam Kornberg, but it will periodically switch to “letters” or videos from other characters that give otherwise unknown background and information, sometimes some that Kornberg becomes aware of, and some that he doesn’t. As Kornberg continues to investigate, the mystery becomes deeper. His wife disappears and stops counseling, the mystery girl also disappears, though Kornberg is amazingly able to track her down again, and a much larger and more vicious, twisted mystery emerges that Kornberg is ill-equipped to handle.
As esoteric as the book is, and given the style it’s written in, it took a long time for me to get into it. I kept putting it down to pick up a couple days later. It wasn’t until I was almost 200 (of a little over 300) pages in that I finally grew accustomed to the style and book and was drawn in enough to want to finish it as quickly as I could to untie all the amazingly interconnected threads.
Written by Michelle who has an amazingly simple life in comparison to any one of the characters in “The Mystery Girl” and is convinced that no one is hiding half the secrets that even the most simple of Gordon’s characters are. See what still makes her life unique as she shares on her blog Honest & Truly! or follow along with her on Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.