“Mouth to Mouth” received a 3.9/5 stars from me. I’m unsure if it’s considered “suspense” or a different genre.
Two college acquaintances randomly meet at an airport at age 43ish and one of them opens up about a major life-altering event from 20 years ago that he hadn’t told anyone else in his entire life. After concluding this in a single afternoon read, I was expecting more “wow” factor like “The Silent Patient” but it didn’t quite hit the mark for a surprise.
I don’t usually read male authors but because of a ancestry.com saga (ask me privately for the story) I HAD to read this book. It helps that it’s short because I love quick reads and “Mouth to Mouth” got a shout out from Obama.
The first chapter clearly jumps into a higher intellect/vocabulary level than most authors. In just the first few pages I’m somewhat stumbling over words like: festooned, vestibule, deliquesced, officious, etc. Alone, these terms aren’t an issue, but when smooshed together, it’s a bit heavy in “braininess.” Take note of my choice of literary word: ‘smooshed’ to understand my perspective.
In just a few pages of exposition (in first person past tense) I clearly get a vibe from the main character and they’re anxious tendencies but am unsure if the MC is male or female. They seemed to have a strange obsession with this Jeff dude they spot at the airport.
The meticulous details easily puts me in the scene. I can hear the voices over the PA in the airport without issue as if I’m physically in their setting.
He/she mentions: “Perhaps if I’d been paying closer attention, or if I’d known what was to come, I’d have detected the glimmer of desperation in his eyes.” This changes the perspective a bit as if we’re looking back at events that have already taken place. Also, that ominous energy grabs my attention beautifully.
Who talks like this though… “I ended up in close proximity to one once… I was, through no planning or forethought on my part…” Do people ever use the word forethought in conversation?
Chapter one ends on such a subtle but perfect cliffhanger that it’s natural to just keep going.
Oh man. There goes the vocabulary lesson again. In just a few sentences I’m feeling a bit attacked with the following words: provenance, emanating, omnipotence, germane, undulated, intercession.
So this “Jeff guy” from college starts telling our MC about how he saved some random swimmer’s life in the ocean 20 years ago by administering CPR & he hadn’t told anyone about it until right now, in this very conversation. Now I need to know why.
After a bit the narrative style changes from first person to most a recount in third person, which is unique.
I feel like I should start a glossary. Page 33- vicissitude definition- a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant. Page 33- ramekin- a small dish for baking and serving an individual portion of food.
Wilson is a great story teller. I’m still captivated. But it lacks the emotion I’m looking for.
At chapter 19 (AKA page 58 because the chapters are so extremely tiny) I started getting bored since the pace slowed down. Let’s see what happens next to pick it back up.
Halfway, I’m wanting to know more of the objectives of the characters other than playing a waiting game to find out the “what’s the purpose of the whole story” moment?
Chloe’s entrance in the situation recaptures my attention.
The life of artists and collectors and sellers is interesting because who can judge and quantify artwork? The mention of Steve Martin, Brad Pitt & Mick Jagger makes me wonder if any of the details are true.
The big scene near the end felt a bit anticlimactic.
Ah… well the last sentence makes it all more complete.
In conclusion, the story in entirety was beautifully disturbing, as a writing strength. But overall it felt too emotionally flat for my taste. I recommend this to those who like long-winded stories with high level of details resulting in a moderate payout at the end.