Friday, September 28

Book Review: Dr. Brinkley's Tower

Title: Dr. Brinkley's Tower

Author: Robert Hough

Pages: 413

Summary: Equal parts Mark Twain and Gabriel García Márquez, Robert Hough's wildly imaginative new novel takes us to 1931 and Corazón de la Fuente, a tiny Mexican border town where the only industry is a run-down brothel. Enter Dr. Romulus Brinkley and his gargantuan radio tower, built to broadcast his revolutionary goat-gland fertility operation. Fortunes in Corazón change overnight, but not all for the good. Word of the new prosperity spreads, and the town is overrun by the impoverished, the desperate, and the flat-out criminal. The tower's frequencies are so powerful the whole area glows green, and the signal is soon broadcasting through every bit of metal it can find: fencing wire, toasters, even a young woman's new braces.

Meanwhile, Dr. Brinkley has attracted the affections of Violeta Cruz, Corazón’s most beautiful resident. But is he really all that he seems?

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I originally thought I would. At first glance, I thought it would be similar to another award winning book I read last year, which I didn't enjoy at all, but this book turned out to be a good read. It had the right amount of humour, seriousness and fairly good storytelling.

I did feel that some aspects of the story were predictable and even a bit formulaic in how the characters and events were portrayed/played out. The whole event surrounding the Madam and the House of Gentlemanly Pleasures, for one. Also many of the plot line surrounding Violeta and how her character was built was also predictable. Without giving to much spoilers away, it had the overall sense that I'd read the book and seen the movie before. Despite having parts that were predictible, I still enjoyed the book. The setting of the book, and the little community, Corazón de la Fuente, were well written. The author did do a good job at brining in all the personalities of the characters and the town itself in full colour, I guess you could say. At times, I was very interested in what would happen, and was happy in how certain events (predictable or not) played out. I also loved most of the ending, save for one minor thing, but the overall ending was enjoyable.

It's a perfect read for a lazy afternoon, or that troublesome commute to work. Well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. I think others like me may be slightly put off, but the book was a good read and well worth experiencing.

What to read next: The other 2012 Giller Longlisters, The Brothers Sisters

Challenges: 12 in 12 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI


  1. This is definitely one of my favourites (so far, I've read 8) and I think it's got a good chance to make the shortlist (which would please me). I know what you mean about some of the aspects of the story feeling predictable, but I wasn't ever entirely sure that something was going to play out in a certain way...I just really wanted it to, because I grew really attached to the characters, even the ones who seeming uninviting at first. I think I know the part of the ending that you weren't fond of, but I think it kinda had to end that way. Sigh.

  2. I've read six, currently reading three more, and it's up there with my favourites, although others take it's place as my favourite. I was hoping it would have made the shortlist, compared to what I've read so far from to other books that have made the short list, this one far surpasses them.

    Some of the characters are ones you can grow attached to. I feel this book will be one that will be underestimated, so despite it not making the short list, I do hope it get's some good recognition.