Is it possibly to recommend a book you haven't read? Not as a rule, in my opinion, which leaves me with a dilemma over Jeffrey Moore's The Extinction Club. Because I wanted to read it - it was just that I wimped out. I couldn't finish it. In fact, I didn't get very far with it, maybe about a third of the way in. After that, I was feeling too ill.
Here's what Penguin Canada had to say about it:
Nile Nightingale is on the run—from what he’s not exactly sure. For he suffers from a pharmaceutical backlog, after-sensations from the drugs and alcohol of his youth and anti-depressants of adulthood. Put simply, he sees things that aren’t there. Including extinct animals.
Enter fourteen-year-old Céleste Jonquères, a near-genius ‘spitfire’ who sees things all too clearly, things she wished she’d never seen. Including some atrocious acts of cruelty to animals in Quebec’s Laurentian forests. When Nile finds her bleeding body in a sack dumped in a half-frozen churchyard swamp, bound with red Christmas ribbon, he naturally tries to save her. After all, he did go to med school, and his father was a famous doctor… But what does he do about the local hunters who want her dead? And the images and voices he’s starting to see and hear inside his head?
The Extinction Club is a magic spell of a book—phantasmagoric, multilayered, full of singular characters, plot twists and neon dialogue. It is also a darkly comic tale, a compassionate ‘new noir’ in which a middle-aged American stamp collector and a teenaged Canadian brainiac share their views on life and death, love and loss.My problem, as you can perhaps guess, came with Céleste's descriptions of what has been done to the animals she finds, and what she knows about the international trafficking of animal parts. In theory, I know this stuff already, I've read it elsewhere, or winced at videos I don't want to be watching. It's ridiculous that I can read about bad things happening to people (admittedly in a limited sort of way - no Girls with Dragon Tattoos here) and then turn into a wreck over bad things happening to animals, but I just can't bear it.
So I've given up on what seemed like a very good, moral book. I love the cover. I liked the writing, I was interested in the two main characters. I want to know about Nile's past, and whether he and Céleste can overcome formidable odds. I want to know more about the cat. Hell, I want to know more about the stamp collection. But I can't read any further. I can't even skip the bad bits. I ought to be brave, and informed. But I can't even leave the spine of the library book facing out on the shelf, because it will remind me of what I'm avoiding. I brought it home from the library because I know that Jeffrey Moore is a good writer and a nice guy (I organised a conference at which he was a speaker), but the sooner it gets returned, the better.
If you have stronger nerves than me, there's an excellent book there, I think ... I'll read one of his others.