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Review: Next

March 19, 2010

Kevin Quinn feels like his life is going nowhere.  His job is in danger of becoming obsolete and he really doesn’t think he’s in love with his girlfriend.  He decides it’s time to be pro-active and move on with his life, so he looks for a new job.  When he gets an interview in Austin, Texas, he flies down from Ann Arbor, Michigan for the day without telling anyone.

Next by James Hynes is the story of that one day in Kevin Quinn’s life.  On the flight down from Ann Arbor, Kevin becomes obsessed with the young woman in the seat next to him and during the first half of the book, he follows her around Austin.   Throughout the course of the book, the reader is inside Kevin’s head, so you experience his thoughts as well as his actions.  Something happens about halfway through the book that totally changes its dynamics and the last third of the book draws all of Kevin’s thoughts together and packs a powerful punch.

When I finished Next, I didn’t know what to think and wished I had someone to discuss it with.  Two days later, I’m still thinking about the book, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.  During the first half of the book, I kept thinking there had to be more to the story than Kevin obsessing about and following a fellow passenger.  Of course, there were moments that triggered thoughts to his past, but I still kept wondering when something was going to happen.

Half-way through the book something small happens and then toward the end something really big occurs that makes Kevin realize that not everything is someone else’s fault and that he’s really been self-absorbed most of his life.  During the big event at the end of the book, Kevin realizes that he’s finally ready for what comes next.

I thought the writing was solid in this book, but the beginning was pretty slow, so for me it was very good, but not quite great.  This book definitely isn’t for everyone, though.  Besides the slow beginning, there’s a lot of introspection in it.  Since this book is told from “inside a man’s head,” there is quite a bit of sexual content, too.

Challenges: Reagan Arthur Books Challenge

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.   I am an Amazon Associate.
39 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2010 5:27 am

    I haven’t heard of this one. The plot line seems interesting. Sorry, you didn’t think it was great. However, that does happen. Not every book is for all readers.

  2. March 19, 2010 6:40 am

    Obviously, this guy had a lot of problems. Some people get lost in life. It’s bad for them and sad for the people they end up hurting. I hope his “next” was a happy one. I get the feeling his “next” might have been tragic. I would love to read those Reagan books. I just ended up being a greedy gut when it came to Reading challenges.:)

  3. March 19, 2010 8:11 am

    This sounds like a real thought provoker….I love books like that. But from the way you describe it, it does sound like the author is leaving room to create perhaps a prelude book or to create other stories centered about the main character. And wow, i love how the author set the story within a day of the life of this character. Great review Kathy. Thanks and have a great weekend.

  4. March 19, 2010 8:39 am

    Ooooh! I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds like the author tried to accomplish a lot! I think your review is great! If nothing else, the book made you think!

  5. March 19, 2010 8:49 am

    This sounds very different, but in a good way. Any novel that makes you think about it for days sounds pretty special to me. I might check this out.

  6. March 19, 2010 8:51 am

    I have a tough time with books that start off slowly. If it takes more than 50 pages to get going, I may have to skip this one. Great review.

  7. March 19, 2010 9:10 am

    Sounds like a great novel! I love ones that linger with me for days afterword.

  8. March 19, 2010 9:26 am

    I’ve seen this starting to pop up around the blogosphere… looks interesting!

  9. March 19, 2010 9:38 am

    It sounds a bit scary to me. The idea of a guy choosing a woman who’s a stranger to him and stalking her for days…doesn’t make me want to pick up the book. I’m glad to know he had a revelation near the end of the book that changed his life for the better.

    That’s weird, even for Austin, (my town) whose motto is Keep Austin Weird.


    Straight From Hel

  10. March 19, 2010 10:05 am

    I love your last line – what a riot!

  11. March 19, 2010 11:08 am

    I reviewed this book a few weeks back and had very similar thoughts to you. I liked the change in direction for the last section but thought it seemed at bit forced by the end.

  12. March 19, 2010 12:06 pm

    I have this on my TBR list, but I’m not really sure if I’ll actually read it. Too many others I want too read…LOL

    Thanks for the great review!

  13. March 19, 2010 12:27 pm

    Interesting! would like to read it.

  14. March 19, 2010 12:28 pm

    Again , you review a book I’ve never even heard of. It sounds quite interesting, Kathy.

  15. March 19, 2010 1:18 pm

    Having read several books written by men lately, it’s starting to seem to me like they really only do have one thing on their minds! This does sound interesting but I don’t know that it’s for me.

  16. Lynne permalink
    March 19, 2010 1:25 pm

    I have actually seen this book around. Not sure where. Bookstore? People magazine? (I love looking at the books they highlight there 🙂 Anyway, I appreciate your review because I had been curious about this book but now I think I’ll pass. Doesn’t sound like something I’d really like, especially with so many other books I want to read.

  17. March 19, 2010 1:33 pm

    Interesting!! This one has been getting quite a bit of buzz but from what you shared I’m wondering why. I do like introspection but I’m not sure I want to be inside of a man’s head for the time it takes me to read it.

  18. March 19, 2010 1:46 pm

    Another Ann Arbor book + a Reagan Arthur book = I’ll probably end up reading this one.

  19. March 19, 2010 2:41 pm

    It took a while to click…but then i remembered that James Hynes wrote KINGS OF INFINITE SPACE (goes where THE OFFICE fears to tread) and PUBLISH & PERISH (a sendup of, well, Publishing)…admittedly, he’s not to everyone’s taste..but i love the silly wonk…Thanks for the review….and i got my copy of WHEREVER NINA LIES,from your giveaway. It’s “on loan”…already…but I’ll do the read/review whenever it finds its way home

    later, Kathy

  20. March 19, 2010 2:42 pm

    I had never heard of this book, but I have to say your review made me extremely curious about it. I think I might read it if I come across it.

  21. March 19, 2010 2:52 pm

    This sounds like a very different book. I don’t think it sounds like one for me though.

  22. March 19, 2010 3:02 pm

    I have to say I feel really bad for that young woman! I can’t imagine how scary it must be to be followed around by a random stranger.

  23. March 19, 2010 3:02 pm

    Sorry it wasn’t what you were expecting. I don’t read many books from a male perspective. It is probably something I should do.

  24. March 19, 2010 3:06 pm

    There are times when I’m in the mood to tackle a book that’s very “different” from what I normally enjoy, and when that mood strikes again, I just might pick this up. Thanks, Kathy!

  25. March 19, 2010 5:05 pm

    Hmm – your review intrigues me! I love Ann Arbor, so any book that mentions it gets points. I’m often not a fan of the slow-starting, introspective books, but I just might have to start it!

  26. March 19, 2010 5:17 pm

    I’d have to be in the right mood or have the right amount of patience to read a book with such a slow start. Knowing that the book is building towards something more significant later would help me hang in there, I think.

  27. stacybuckeye permalink
    March 19, 2010 6:05 pm

    Looks interesting. Not sure I feel like I have to read it, but if I see it at the library I’ll have to take a look.

  28. March 19, 2010 7:24 pm

    hey, if are still thinking about the book days after you finished it, the author was successful some way.

  29. March 19, 2010 10:11 pm

    Sounds like a powerful and thought-provoking book! I have to look this one up. For some reason, it keeps reminding me of the Nicholas Cage-movie by the same name. Good review. I think I might enjoy this one.

  30. March 19, 2010 10:44 pm

    I don’t think this one is for me! I really dnt think I will be able to sail through the 1st half at all.

  31. March 20, 2010 7:11 am

    I’ll be reading this eventually for the RA challenge, so you’ll know what I think. Sounds like a lot is going on, and I can’t wait to find out what the events are!

  32. March 20, 2010 7:50 am

    Hmmmm….I’ve intrigued by the premise and now I’m thinking about reading this one!

  33. March 20, 2010 12:04 pm

    I haven’t heard of this book and not sure it’s my cup of tea. Although, a book that makes you think is a good thing.

  34. March 20, 2010 12:11 pm

    Hmm, although this does sound like it has an interesting premise, I am wondering if this would be the right book for me. I am a little put off that it is so slow in the beginning and that most of the action takes place inside the main character’s head. Generally, I don’t like those types of books, but your reaction to the story makes me think twice. I will have to do some more research on this one and see if it is something that I would like. Great review, Kathy, it sounds like there was a lot going on in this book, both good and bad!

  35. March 20, 2010 9:53 pm

    I’ll be honest … the description sounds a bit creepy and stalkerish. But I’m intrigued too.

  36. March 21, 2010 1:55 am

    Another RA book that sounds very interesting. I think you are tempting me into this challenge. Actually, I like the premise of the book.

  37. March 21, 2010 2:53 am

    This is one that I’d like to read. Reading from a male’s perspective is intriguing and I read that a lot in magazines for men (I buy them regularly).

  38. March 22, 2010 1:51 pm

    Hmm…not sure this one is for me. But you have made me a little curious.

  39. March 24, 2010 5:00 pm

    Hmm. Not sure about this one. Might make a good book club read though!

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