(book cover links to Goodreads)

Keywords: fiction, corruption, leading
Grak hates things. Lots of things. And with a peculiar intensity too.

Grak’s contempt is so strong, in fact, that it often leaves his fellow tribesmen bewildered. And when attempting to describe his personality, they find themselves in need of words with greater nuance. “Neurotic” is typically used. “Sociopath” and “narcissist” are also common terms. The most popular descriptor, however, is “pathological.”

Grak, on the other hand, sees his situation in a rather different light. He finds his behavior “necessary” and “selfless,” or even “benevolent” when his mood is just so. Most often, though, he simply attributes his nature to “being human.”

But of all the things Grak despises, his antipathy for olives takes precedence. In his efforts to be rid of this nuisance, he gets his first taste of power and ignites a series of events with troubling consequences. Unwilling to give up his newfound influence, he sets about honing his only true talent: manipulation. But as his grip tightens, Grak’s naively selfish exterior crumbles to reveal a dark and malicious evil …

Things Grak Hates was my political read for 2015. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the story but I found it to be an altogether well-crafted book. Grak and many other characters really came to life, though overly simple at some points, and their rapidly changing life was easy to feel. I did feel the middle dragged on too much at times and the revolutions got a bit out of hand. I liked the corruption theme, though somehow I felt that it was too linked to Grak’s declining mental health and didn’t like the correlation between mental illness and Grak’s corrupt and twisted personality.

The resolution wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I feel oddly satisfied with it.

Definitely not my usual fare, but overall enjoyable.


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