There must be Some Mistake


Before I took off for Writers Conferences a couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Lori Roy’s Bent Road and asked readers to respond, giving me the titles and comments on good books they’ve read this year. Author Terry Persun did respond recommending Frederick Barthelme’s There Must Be Some Mistake. Here are his review and comments. Do join in!


About There Must be Some Mistake

Review by Terry Persun

This book chronicles the life of a retired man who has an ex-wife, good female friend, and a girlfriend, plus a daughter. Surrounded by women, they still seem to confuse and evade him. But that’s not all. As a recent retiree, he’s unsure about what he has to offer anyone, including himself. He wonders who he is now that he’s retired. He wanders around, gets involved in all kinds of crazy things, etc. But that’s not why I like this book so much. It’s not the story it’s the writing. Frederick knows how to move your through a story, but he also knows how to use the language, how to craft long sentences that take you on their own ride. He plays with the language, with sentence structure, and with abstract and concrete idea. He goes inside his character’s head and outside, lets you see what’s happening and what the character is thinking about what’s happening. The book is beautifully written. 

Comment by Judy Kirscht

This is a different sort of read, for me anyway, and I agree with Terry that the writing is fluid, exploring interior and exterior, thought and event with an effortless grace that  keeps me reading. It is also disturbing, for it defies the readers expectation of a protagonist with a quest. This protagonist is adrift as are so many (especially males) cut loose from the world of work. You know people like this, whether unemployed or retired, who have lost their anchor, and Barthelme portrays the inner state with unerring honesty.  Some reviewers have found it a satire on our society, some not, but all comment on the thread of humor that runs through the book and on protagonist’s enduring optimism. Thank you, Terry, for introducing me to a very different sort of word artist.

2 Responses to Reviewing THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE

  1. terrypersun October 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    I like your assessment of the book and would love to hear from others who may have read it. It’s complicated and interesting to talk about books like this one. So, anyone?

  2. Judy October 14, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    It is particularly interesting to read books that defy our story expectations, as this one does. It loosens up the brain. This book may be a comment on our culture, as many reviewers have said, but it also lets us experience another state of being. As a women who has seen many people suffer this kind of disconnection when they retire, it gives insight.

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