Often I approach a literary novel with a bit of trepidation because literary writers frequently intrude on their stories, using language as an end in itself instead of as a slave to the story. But as I read The Never-Open Desert Diner, I was pleased to discover that James Anderson wrote the novel always choosing the good of the story over showmanship.
Besides the restrained skill of the writing, I was impressed by Anderson’s setting. Choosing to place a novel in the desert was bold. Most readers view the desert as arid nothingness, populated by oddities both creaturely and human, and aren’t apt to pick up a novel set there. But any who read this book find that Anderson painted the truth of the desert’s quixotic beauty with its dazzling sunsets and dangerous storms. Furthermore, he imbued the characters with sensitive humanity, and, having lived in the high desert myself, I was delighted with the way he explored the fascinating people who live there.
Aside from the literary aspects of the novel, the story is an entertaining and engaging read. The pace of the story is consistent, and there are enough story questions to drive the narrative and the reader forward. Finally, the ending is excellent—a wistful, satisfying conclusion to a well-written novel book.
I can’t wait to read Mr. Anderson’s next novel.
I received this book for Blogging for Book in exchange for a review.