Review: A Naked Singularity – Sergio De La Pava.

nakedWhen I see a debut this long, I’m always a little surprised. I’ve always thought it takes a lot of balls to write a book in general, but a longer book seems braver. That’s just me, I think. Also, I’m still failing my battle with Infinite Jest, and as it seemed to take a while to read, I felt I might fall a second time here.

Casi, a young public defender in NYC, and son of Colombian immigrants, suffers his first loss at trial and uses inside information to plan a heist of illicit millions. Go on… Said heist attracts two pursuers Casi must outrace, “navigating a world expanded by theoretical physics to encompass the rise and fall of boxer Wilfred Benitez, Alabama’s death row [and] psych experiments involving Ralph Kramden.”

Consider me intrigued. The philosophical discourses seem oddly natural, where other books will have a notable force to musings. God, corruption, the war on drugs, perfection – even birthdays get their own philosophical slant.

De La Pava’s own expertise in the Criminal Justice system gives the book a real backbone. It feels authentic, rather than researched, and the terminology or actions are explained in a way that covers the important points, but without becoming a lecture.

[Okay. I took some time away from my laptop and now have to rush out of the door, so this is a completely rubbish review as I now don’t have time. Woe.]

A Naked Singularity is funny and insightful, fast paced and consuming. Is it going to be a tough slog for people? Well, for a lot, yes. It can be difficult to get into at points, and longer books can often be off-putting. But it’s clever, witty and worthwhile.

Shortlisted for Folio prize.


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