Scott Hawkins’ The Library at Mount Char is dark, weird and funny. It’s basically the perfect book for me. I knew I was going to love it within a few sentences, and so far it hasn’t disappointed.
The main character, Carolyn, has penchant for brutality that constantly surprises me, too. Where other books would establish that the main character had done terrible things but they were all in the past, Hawkins gleefully undermines those expectations. Carolyn behaves in ways that are utterly inhuman without necessarily making her an unlikable character. Of course, it definitely helps that other characters in the book are much, much worse.
My only real criticism so far is that the book’s cover completely misses the mark. It feels like the kind of cover you’d see on your average literary thriller sent straight to the bargain bin. I’m sure it happened because the book already feels impossible to sell from what I’ve read so far, but it’s incredibly unfortunate because I would not have picked this book up off a shelf without first understanding the completely bat-shit premise.
I’m only about 15% through at this point, so it’s possible the book won’t deliver on its early promises, but who can go wrong with chapter titles like “Buddhism for Assholes”?