Finally! One Problem with Lowboy


The “one problem” mentioned in the title is an embarrassingly minuscule one, we promise. Nit-picking, really. If you’re a publicist, reading this to collect clips — or blurbs! blurb us for the paperback edition! — honestly, consider this a ringing endorsement. Lowboy was fantastic. We stayed up past our bedtime and rejoiced when we missed trains on the way to work, just to finish the book and soak it all in as quickly as possible. But after hopping onto the bandwagon of laudatory reviews, we almost wished we had a bone to pick. Something to offer besides a “Ohmygod It’s The Holden Caulfield Of Our Generation.” So, what’s the only thing we could find wrong with this outstanding novel?

John Wray makes a point of describing the length of time subway doors stay open when in the station: “They stayed open for ten seconds, the prescribed minimum” (pp 41). “The doors closed after exactly ten seconds” (pp 93). But after some very un-scientific research, compiled over the last three days on the NYC Subway system, we’ve got to disagree. On average, subway doors remained open for only five to six Mississippis. Even during rush hour, at a major stop, we only got up to eight Mississippi. Now, we realize that the protagonist is a fairly unreliable one, being schizophrenic and all, but even the nominally sane detective in the novel has to block the doors from closing after ten seconds (pp 242-43). So! Lowboy debunked! Wow, we’re really glad we got that off our chests. But please, still read it — it’s truly remarkable!

[Check out our interview with John Wray, and learn where you can hear him read from the book in the NYC area.]