Fascinating book by a Dominican/Canadian author I’d not heard of before but is apparently quite a highlight in some literary circles. This is the third novel to be published (but the 4th book chronologically) in the 5-book Quincunx Cycle. The first two books were Pastoral and Fifteen Dogs. The books are bound by rather universal literary themes as well as
The book is loosely based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson and along the lines of a puzzle and a quest, but there are numerous literary allusions to many other books including Naked Lunch by Burroughs, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, as well as A Critique of Pure Reason by Kant. It and Alexis’ other books have garnered many raves as well as a few noteworthy prizes.
The Hidden Keys
by Andres Alexis
2016 / 232 pages
read by Andres Alexis- 7h 53m
rating: 8.5 / 21st Century Fiction
#3 – (or 4) in the Qunicunx Cycle
Tancred Palmieri is a youngish professional thief active in Ontario Canada. He has elegant and sophisticated tastes and is really quite accomplished in his field. Meanwhile, Willow Azarian may be an aging heroin addict, but she is also the daughter of a very wealthy businessman, newly deceased. The two meet at a rather sleazy dive.
Willow tells her story to Tancred and shares with him the peculiar nature of what her father bequeathed to his children as parting gifts (in addition to millions of dollars). She thinks the gift items are pieces to a puzzle which, when connected correctly, will reveal the location of a huge treasure. She wants Tancred to steal the gifts from the others in order to solve the mystery.
Tancred is intrigued so he tells his dear friend, Daniel Mandelshtam, an Ontario detective. Tancred also enlists the assistance of some rather shady players and sets off to solve the puzzle.
As well as telling a compelling tale of greed and curiosity, Alexis also explores some more literary themes like loyalty and honor.
This is NOT a thriller. It’s slower and more of an old fashioned “mystery” book for the thinking woman’s pleasure.
The next book in the series, Days By Moonlight is available but so are the first two. The last book (chronological order #3) is not published yet but will be called “The Ring.” I think I’ll go for Pastoral, #1.