Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Grift, by Debra Ginsberg

The G[r]ift is an interesting little read.  With my interest in the psycic/medium con peaked by Affinity, I wanted to read a bit more on the subject and picked to Debra Ginsberg’s modern twist on the tale.  The G[r]ift tells the story of Marina, a survivor of a shitty childhood in which her mother used her to make money by having her read tarot cards and tell fortunes.  Having learnt the art young, Marina now plies her trade by picking up the signals her clients put out (a flicker of the eye, a slight creasing of the brow, the twisting of a lock of hair).  Marina, having been driven out of Florida by competing fortune tellers, winds up in California, where she meets a man, falls in love, and has her heart broken.  During this upheaval, Marina suddenly develops a true gift for seeing the future and speaking to the dead, and now her grift is useless.

This, of course, if a simplification of the plot.  There are a lot of twists and turns that make this a great read.  The plot is a good one, and I’m admit, I tear-ed up at a couple of points.  If this book does have a flaw, it’s that the characters (and there are a few through whom the author develops the story) are a little one-noted.  They vary from men to woman, rich to poor, straight to gay, but for all those differences, it’s a little flat.  There are points where Ginsberg steps into the skin of the character effectively, but these instances only highlight the times that she falls flat in this regard.  It is possible that, having finished World War Z just before reading it, I was spoiled and looking for the same quality of character voice, but this book does a yeoman’s-like job in this regard.

Having said that, however, this was still a good read.  The plot twists were a little predictable, and there was no happy ending, but I can get over that.  Would I have paid full price for this book?  Nope - got in on sale at Chapters.  Would I lend it out and not worry about getting it back?  Probably.  So, I’d recommend reading it if you’re into new-age and/or a good con story, but it’s not going on my list of ‘must-reads’ to recommend to friends.

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