City of Brick and Shadow
by Tim Wirkus
Review by Angela DeMott
City of Brick and Shadow is original, thoughtful, funny, and asks more questions than it attempts to answer. I loved how Tim Wirkus throws the reader into the Mormon missionaries’ world without much explanation – you pick up on the vocabulary and norms of their lifestyle by osmosis and it’s a different and fascinating approach to a somewhat unfamiliar landscape.
This novel is definitely more concerned with the nature of mysteries than it is about solving them; and while I would have preferred more of a conclusion from the ending, it’s obvious to me that this was a deliberate authorial choice that makes a larger statement about the questions we ask and why we ask them, so I appreciate that. Wirkus’s writing is so spot-on—every scene and dialogue tag feels deliberately placed. One of the best parts of the novel for me was Elder Toronto’s and Elder Schwartz’s relationship which made me laugh out loud a few times. I could have read 100 pages more of their bickering and been just fine.
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About the reviewer: Angela’s addiction to reading must have started sometime around second grade when she finished her first chapter book, Bruce Coville’s The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed. She’s been reading classics, literary fiction, mysteries, children’s lit, narrative nonfiction, and much more ever since. She graduated from Southern Virginia University with a B.A. in English and has an M.A. in Publishing from Rosemont College; She is currently a web writing manager at Hibu, a digital marketing company.
This review was originally submitted as part of our 50th Anniversary Book Challenge.