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Cannonball Read #6: The Four Corners of the Sky

11/22/2009

Thank God this book is over! It took me the whole week to read The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone, and I only reluctantly finished it. I was about 1/3 of the way through, and I figured I’d have to stick it out for the Cannonball Read. Why waste 160 pages?

The concept was great. Jack Peregrine, estranged con-artist father, lures his daughter, Annie, back into his life as he lays “dying” to help him recover a priceless 16th century Spanish statue. Jack’s on the run from the Cuban mafia and the FBI, but Annie goes to him to find out about her unknown mother as well as help him.

Kooky supporting characters include Annie’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Brad, who wants to reconcile; a lesbian aunt and her platonic roommate who raised Annie as aunt and uncle; a pair of friends – one of hers, and one of her father’s – who spout off platitudes, cliches and quotes throughout the story. Plus the FBI and the Navy – Annie’s a naval pilot. Oh yes, and a love interest.

I tried to enjoy this book and really get into it, but Malone’s continual movie references kept getting in the way. Let me give you some examples:

She wasn’t sure she could endure many more of these startling apperances of his, his flying at her out of nowhere like she was Janet Leigh in a shower.

“Jack since you went away, I’ve gotten older. I can’t take much more of this send-things-and-save-things and you tearing out of the cornfield like North by Northwest.”

“Obviously,” the girl agreed as soon as she’d mastered the ironical eyebrow she had learned from Claudette Colbert.

Speaking of Claudette Colbert, if I weren’t so tired of thinking about this book, I’d go back and count the number of times she is mentioned. It would have to be twenty or more. Colbert’s name is listed as Annie’s mother on her birth certificate, and later in the novel Jack reveals Annie’s mother’s name as Kay Denham. Later she finds that is only the name of a character Colbert played in I Met Him in Paris

Not only is Claudette Colbert all over this novel, Malone mentions the quote from Stagecoach “Sorry, no silver cup” at least four times. Dude, I get it. You love old movies, and you know more about them than the average person. But shut the hell up and tell your story!

Yesterday, my 6-year-old asked me if there were any pictures at all in the books I read. I told her that when I read, I see the pictures in my head. Normally I’m so immersed in my books, that it’s hard to get my attention, and I have to force myself to slow down. I couldn’t read this book fast enough to just be done.

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