Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fault -or- The Man Who Made Earthquakes / Max V. Weiss

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Literary Fiction

Approximate word count: 45-50,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Max V. Weiss is a lawyer. This is his first novel.


Tired of being the junior lawyer at his law firm, Travis has an idea to “save the world” and give his life meaning.


Not long ago one of my reviews had a low star ranking, although I clearly liked the story. This book is the opposite situation. There aren’t any technical faults. The author’s writing style doesn’t have significant flaws. He’s told the story he wanted to tell and done so well. But my reaction to the story was lukewarm simply because it isn’t my kind of story. I’ll attempt to explain. Maybe it will be your “cup of tea.”

Warning: My explanation has some information that you might consider a spoiler. If that will be a problem for you, stop reading.

In the beginning, I could identify with Travis, the protagonist. His situation was one most people should understand. He has a job that has good points and bad points. Financially, it is decent, with plenty of potential. However, Travis feels like what he does is meaningless and therefore his life is meaningless. So he comes up with a plan to give his life meaning and, if this plan works, it will make the world a better place. His plan, using sound waves to trigger small earthquakes so that big ones won’t happen, is relatively harmless to start (although a little “out there”). The problem is that Travis quickly becomes obsessed with this, to the exclusion of everything else, and spirals more and more out of control. The ending is not a happy one.

When I finished, I wondered what the point of the story was and what someone would get from reading it. It isn’t entertainment, unless you enjoy watching someone self-destruct. I don’t think I’m hung up on a happy ending – I can think of too many examples of books I liked that didn’t end happily. While there might be a lesson about balance in life or a warning about becoming too obsessed with anything, Travis crossed the line from obsession to mental instability so quickly that I doubt anyone sane enough to be able to apply such a lesson could relate Travis to their own life. Maybe someone would find the story appealing because it isn’t happening to them; “there but for the grace of God …,” but that seems like a stretch. I don’t doubt that there are readers who would find this book just what they’re looking for, but I can’t imagine why. If you’re that reader, I hope you’ll recognize the appeal and let me know.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars

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