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Review: Novel ‘Linda and the Real World’

Stunning storytelling skill and powerful writing talent are the only ways in which to describe the prose of Nicholas Kurt Duffy in his new novel, “Linda and the Real World.”

A fascinating tale with a mix of fantasy and reality similar to that of Douglas Adams’, “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” this novel mixes a clearly cynical view of the modern world with a somewhat more optimistic perception of the people inhabiting it and the limitless quality of humanity or what could be considered an inherent goodness of human nature. Duffy catches bits and pieces of fairytales and shakes them up with the story’s other qualities, as one would a salad in a lidded container.

For instance, “Linda and the Real World” contains the ethereal tone of “The Great Gatsby,” a large dose of the abstract reality of “The Grapes of Wrath,” a healthy helping of the imagination, description and symbolism of “The Never Ending Story,” with the blatant observation and social criticism of “The Catcher in the Rye.” Not to mention the simplicity and values similar to those in “Le Petit Prince,” known in English as “The Little Prince.” In this way, it is told almost like a children’s book, but contains wisdom meant particularly for adults.

That’s not to say that these books intentionally influenced Duffy’s writing style and voice, solely that they bear resemblance. Still, comparing this short and light work to such classics is meant entirely as complimentary to Duffy. Certainly, “Linda and the Real World” could become known as a classic of our generation and era. Let alone the fact that students in future years would have a much easier time consuming this reading material, a novel of only 150 pages and medium font-sized text, than they may have in reading such lengthy and complex works of prose as “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Duffy’s book holds clever commentary on different aspects of life, from advertising to drug addiction and different lifestyles or personalities, such as the anxiety prone to the people pleaser. Duffy shows through his simple yet elegant prose the contrast between how people think, how people want to live and behave and how they actually do live and behave.

If you’re looking for a clever and fun, insightful new read, “Linda and the Real World” by Nicholas Kurt Duffy is definitely worth picking up. It’s entertaining and brief enough to hold the attention of even the least avid reader.

Follow Gabrielle on Twitter @bookwormwillow.

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