Shannon’s Book Bag reviews A Masque of Infamy:
This was a surprisingly good book. Billed as autobiographical novel, it reads extremely entertaining. Louis is a very believable hard-assed, yet naive teenage boy struggling with a crappy family situation. Dad is a pervert, Mom is a basket-case, and “family friend” Rick is a nut-case. Louis does what he feels will produce the best situation for himself (and in turn his little brother), but also feels guilt at not being able to change the situation and confusion as to how to deal with things that have happened to him in the past. Despite being a bit of a self-centered shit, you can’t help but feel for him being stuck in his crazy life.
But after buying into this kid’s life, the writer leaves you high and dry with no resolution to any of the situations – and not in a “sequel will be coming soon” sort of way. He just up and leaves…and you are left to wonder, “Seriously, that’s it?!” Frustrating, at least to me.
A common response to the novel has been that it ends abruptly and there is no tidy conclusion, no sense of what the future will hold for Louis or his brother. Because I tried to make the novel as close to the real experience as I could, within the limits of memory and the constraints of narrative, A Masque of Infamy is a story about real life, and real life is almost always messy. At one point, I contemplated writing a fictional ending that would tie it all together, but it just didn’t seem genuine. And as much as this is billed as a “novel,” I only changed names to protect my family, and because I used a lot of dialogue to tell the story, I couldn’t in good conscious call it a memoir. But it is a true story. This is how it happened.