Rummanah Aasi
 Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is dead—but by purpose or accident? The question rips him apart.
  Unable to face alone his mother’s ghastly remarriage to his uncle, Ben turns to his dearest friend, Horatio Patel, whom he hasn’t seen since their relationship changed forever from platonic to something…other. Loyal to a fault (truly, a fault), Horatio is on the first flight to NYC when he finds himself next to a sly tailor who portends inevitable disaster. And who seems ominously like an architect of mayhem himself.
   Meanwhile, Ben’s ex-fiancé Lia, sundered her from her loved ones thanks to her addiction recovery and torn from her art, has been drawn into the fold of three florists from New Orleans—seemingly ageless sisters who teach her the language of flowers, and whose magical bouquets hold both curses and cures. For a price. On one explosive night these kinetic forces will collide, and the only possible outcome is death

Review: The King of Infinite Space is a modern retelling of Hamlet with a fun mash up of mystery and light touches of magical realism. You do not have to be familiar with Hamlet to read this book, but it added to my appreciation of the clever changes to the bloody play. 
   When she was engaged to Benjamin Dane (the book’s Hamlet character), Lia (Ophelia) was an alcoholic performance artist. Now, after their very bad, very final breakup, she creates flower arrangements for the Three Sisters Floral Boutique, managed by a trio of strange ladies who seem to put those bouquets to magical use. Lia also finds herself appearing in Ben’s dreams as he anguishes over the recent death of his father, owner of the New World’s Stage Theatre, and the swift remarriage of his mother, Trudy, to brother-in-law Claude. To help him prove Dad wasn’t a suicide, Ben summons his grad school buddy Horatio, who’s still getting over the one-night stand with Ben that sent him scurrying back to London.
  I really like the changes that Faye has made to the play while keeping its core themes in place. Ben is neuro-atypical. He continues to have philosophical thought spirals and is obsessed with death, but he is self aware which makes him much more likable than in the play. He knows when he is being a jerk, especially to the two loves of his life, Lia and Horatio. Ben's sexuality isn't defined but it is clear that he loves both Lia and Horatio equally. Unlike the play's tragic heroine, Lia gets a large speaking role this time around. She is not tied to her relationship with Ben, but she is living her life on her own terms. Horatio is still the strong constant force, but making him Indian and gay adds layers to an otherwise straightforward character. The love triangle between Ben, Lia, and Horatio is done really well and you feel for each of the characters.
 The book is told from Ben, Lia, and Horatio's alternating perspectives which allows you to connect to the characters on a personal level. I thought Ben's sections were fun to read as Faye experimented with her writing-large and small texts to alert you of Ben's state of mind as well as passages of stream of consciousness. There are two plot twists to the story that surprised me in a good way. I can usually predict plot twists but not this time. Overall I thought this was an incredibly clever and smart book. I will definitely pick up another book by Faye.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, mentions of attempted suicide, and strong violence. Recommended for adults. 

If you like this book try: Dark August by Katie Tallo
1 Response
  1. I do enjoy a retelling of a classic, but the magical realism might do me in.

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