Ackroyd (Jules Feiffer) - Avon Books - 1977 - 309 pages

This book has been in my library sitting unread for almost 30 years.  It is one of the original books from our storefront bookstore that I kept for myself.  I have moved it from box to box and bookcase to bookcase.  It is my Feiffer book (his second of only two novels) without the cartoons.  After reading his recent autobiography (Backing Into Forward), I decided to read Ackroyd even though Feiffer himself called it "unreadable."  He is wrong.  I found the novel to be mesmerizing and filled with his trademark, interesting conversations between protagonists, and self-doubting speculations.  The book covers the years 1964-1971 in the life of the young private detective, Roger Ackroyd (real name, Robert Hollister).  Ackroyd was a successful detective but one client (a famous columnist, Oscar Plante), in particular, proved to be vexing, irritating and omnipresent.  Written in diary-style without chapters, the detective's notes follow the whims of Plante and his cadre of family and friends.  Ackroyd/Hollister at one point joined the army and saw action in Vietnam.  He became a whistle-blower and lecturer regarding the atrocities he witnessed.  He eventually enlists his client-become-friend to help him write a book about his experiences.  Throughout the book, author Feiffer confuses reality and psychological musings to the the point that the reader (this reader, at least) begins to wonders which of the characters are sane.  This is an unconventional detective novel to be sure, but lovers of the Feiffer style should enjoy it, and the years have not tainted it. [JAM 5/31/2010]