Picking my favorite book of the year is a daunting task. I just started narrowing down my favorite novels of the year list, and after the first culling I am left with over 30 books, all of which I loved. One book, however, stood out this year from the pack, Adam Levin’s The Instructions.
I had heard good things about The Instructions from friends whose tastes I have come to respect (notably Michael Schaub and Jason Diamond). Throw in the David Foster Wallace comparisons Levin has quickly earned, and the book rose to the top of my anticipated reading list. However, doubts surfaced when I received my galley of the book, and its 1,000+ pages were spread over two thick volumes. I wondered if I would have the time to read it, and put the book aside to finish several others. My friends’ recommendations started to haunt me, so I picked up the book. A couple of days later, after a couple of marathon reading sessions, I finished The Instructions and immediately regretted there wasn’t more.
As hefty as The Instructions is, it never seems too long. Adam Levin works genius in his debut novel. Mixing humor, pathos, and violence with ease, Levin creates characters that are fully realized, even the minor ones, and his young messianic protagonist is simply one of the year’s most fantastic and unforgettable literary figures.
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