Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: The Year We Finally Solved Everything

What if there were one perfect place on the planet: a place without sickness, hunger, work, or worry? How would the rest of the world respond to that perfection? In The Year We Finally Solved Everything, author Rudolf Kerkhoven attempts to answer these questions – and I think he comes pretty close to the truth.

Richard, the narrator of the novel, lives in Canada, but he could really be in any city across North America. Perfection has been discovered in the form of Shan Won, a small island nation off the coast of China. Shan Won’s perfection is simultaneously attracting people from all over the world and destroying the lives of those who don’t want to go. As the world around him swirls into destruction, Richard seeks to become one of the Disappeared – the world’s name for those who leave everything behind for Shan Won.

The sparseness of Mr. Kerkhoven’s dialogue struck me as uniquely effective, with simple spoken sentences frequently followed by long but readable passages describing the speaker or the setting. His descriptions are so vivid that I had no problem seeing through Richard’s eyes. My one complaint is the apparently random use of commas throughout the novel – sometimes they are there when they shouldn’t be, and vice-versa.

In the end, this reader was left saddened but not surprised by the world’s reaction to Shan Won. But what is life when we have nothing left to strive for? The Year We Finally Solved Everything will make you ask that question and many more.


  1. Hello Susan!

    I'm the author of that book, and I'm very appreciative of your honest review!

    Would you be willing to post this review on the Amazon site? You don't have to have purchased it to post a review there.

    If it's also OK with you, I'd like to post a link to your review on my website.

    Thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

  2. Hi Rudy,

    I tried to find you earlier today to let you know I'd be posting this review. I'm so glad you stumbled upon it!

    My practice with past reviews has been to post them here and on my personal website for a few weeks before adding them to Amazon. However, since you've requested it, I'll post it to Amazon tomorrow.

    Please do feel free to link to and quote the review anywhere you would like.

    And thank you for writing such a unique and engrossing tale!

  3. Thanks, Susan!

    It was easier to market my first book, a comedy choose your own adventure ("The Adventures of Whatley Tupper"), than this, so it's gratifying to read some positive words about the book. Thanks in advance for posting your review on Amazon, they really help.


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