Friday, February 26, 2010

Numb by Sean Ferrell


I was lucky enough to read Numb by Sean Ferrell before its publication date this August. Numb, Ferrell's debut novel, is the story of a man who can't feel physical pain. He wakes up in the middle of Texas with no memory, and gets adopted by a circus where his “gift” of numbness becomes part of the show. From there, the bulk of the story deals with Numb's fame and freakdom in New York City.

Ferrell's elegant and beautiful prose ensnared me from the start. Beyond the author's voice, though, there's a stillness within the narrator, a unique receptivity that counter-balances the exuberance of his adventures. And adventures there are. Numb is a serious book, but it's an exciting one too.

Ferrell keeps the torment of Numb's emotional and literal search for identity ratcheted up on every page. Sometimes the only thing that makes this bearable is the relief of the characters that surround and support Numb. In deep colors, in full dimensionality, these people either help Numb or use him and we see them through the eyes of a man birthed upon the world full-grown, due to his amnesia. The trajectory of Numb's decisions and personhood becomes totally engrossing.

Themes of free agency, friendship, art and fame weave through Numb, and Ferrell treats them with a delicate, thoughtful hand.

Numb was a wonderful read which captivated me around every corner. It's available now for pre-order through the HarperCollins website or your internet bookstore of choice. Go!

25 comments:

  1. Yayyyyyyyyyyy Can't wait to read it!

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  2. I have been itching to read this one--can't WAIT to pick up a copy! Great review!!

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  3. Wow. This makes me totally want to read the book. :) Is the protagonist's name really Numb?

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  4. Looking forward to reading it. It sounds great.

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  5. You sold me the book on Elisabeth's review alone. Thanks for the post

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  6. I saw a link to this review on Janet Reid's website. Awesome :-)

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  7. It is great to see that my review makes people want to read NUMB. The protagonist's name really is Numb.

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  8. I love Sean Ferrell, but don't tell him I said that. Will read anything he writes.

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  9. I started following Sean on Twitter after the "Numb" cover caught my eye and the synopsis that I read after intrigued me. Can't wait to read a copy!

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  10. Debra, I won't tell Sean you said that.

    Okay, I'm back, I just had to send an email. To my... mom.

    Crystal, isn't Sean funny? I should have linked to his twitter and blog. In fact, I'll do that now.

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  11. Great review, Elisabeth. I look forward to reading it. If I don't like it, you both owe me a mousephant. Really.

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  12. Great review! This looks great--can't wait to read!

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  13. After I read the review, the first thing that came to mind was "The World According to Garp." Sounds like "Numb" has the same quirky, seductive charm and dark, undertone.

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  14. You've convinced me. I'm going to read it.

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  15. I have been blessed enough to read it. And yeah, what Elizabeth says.

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  16. Harley, I'm not giving the critter to you for any reason. But you'll like "Numb", so just stop thinking about my mousephant.

    Lauren, I haven't read "The World According to Garp", but it sounds good.

    Thanks for the nice comments.

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  17. Between your review and Harley's roast, I'm definitely intrigued to read this when it comes out. Thanks!

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  18. Penelope, I'm so glad. Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Elizabeth, not sure if you track your blog hits, but don't be alarmed if you see a funny surge coming from Central Oregon. My book club is planning to read NUMB when it comes out, and I just got Sean to agree to chat with us on the phone. I sent the book club group a link to this review of the book, since you do such an amazing job describing it.

    Thanks so much!

    Tawna

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  20. I'm reading this now, and I love it. I wanted to read it so badly I bought it first thing in the morning on Aug 3. And you're right, Sean's a funny guy. At least on Twitter. :)

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  21. Adrienne, I'm glad you're enjoying Numb! I scouted it when I went to the bookstore yesterday - so fun to see it in person, on the shelf.

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  22. Salman Rushdie and other writers are appearing on a CSpan2 Book TV panel right now, until 11:00 am ESDT, discussing writer's imagination and how countries can use it to promote positive change.

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  23. I like it. this books looks to be awesome.

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