The Confabulist follows two plot threads, one about Houdini and his quest to reveal the fraud of spiritualists, and one about Martin Strauss, who supposedly threw the punch that killed him. The Houdini thread is engaging, even if some chapters that rapidly shift back and forth between two different times left me confused about the order of events, and could have stood on its own if it was given a different ending to wrap it up. Martin Strauss, however, is suffering from a medical condition in which he is not only losing his memory but it's being completely replaced by false ones. I enjoy a good unreliable narrator as much as anybody. I adored Mind of Winter, and Drood by Dan Simmons is one of my standby books for the staff picks display at the library. However, the best part of those two books is trying to work out if the narrator is losing touch with reality or if they are describing the actions of somebody else who is, or if there might even be something supernatural going on. In this case, we are told in the first chapter about Martin Strauss that he remembers things that are completely untrue. Knowing that, I saw the reversal in the last chapter coming instantly, rendering all of Martin's chapters pointless because I knew it was more likely than not that most of it was never supposed to have happened.
Overall Grade: C
The Confabulist will be available May 1.