Recreational Reading Review: Going to See the Elephant

This first novel by Rodes Fishburne tells the story of 25 year old Slater Brown, determined to go to San Francisco and become the greatest writer ever. In fact, by his calculation, he is already the best writer in the world, “he just hadn’t gone through the irksome task of writing it down yet.”  It soon dawns on Slater that striving for greatness doesn’t put food on the table, and he, like many starving artists before him, must get a job. This sets in motion a crazy story of newspaper reporting, bus rides, chess masters, and genius inventors determined to control the weather. I confess that I didn’t find Slater to be a particularly enjoyable character, but I did enjoy this exuberant novel. At its heart, I’d call it a romance, but not in the traditional girl-meets-boy style (though that does happen too). Rather, it is a story of romance and passion for San Francisco, for writing, for invention, and for the sheer joy of engagement with the world. Definitely a fine first novel and a writer to watch.

Check it out at the Law Library!

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