W THE BOOK OF MIRRORS
hen it comes to whodunits, the investigation cuts both ways: as the protagonist delves into the mystery, readers interpret their fractured identity. In this seamless mix of literary experiment and page-turning mystery, RomanianHungarian author Chirovici explores that idea with great élan, unpicking the ‘truth’ about a 25-year-old murder from three viewpoints.
Sold to multiple territories last year, this book arrived in the UK with a buzz. Chirovici’s Englishlanguage debut sees him making taut, tense work of living up to that hype and his own ambitions. This skilful mosaic of problematic memories and missing manuscripts begins with a student-written novel, concerning the killing of a Princeton professor, being sent to a literary agent. That novel within bristles with noir-ish riffs on obsession and jealousy, deftly layered with clues, twists, deferrals and rug-pulls.
As the truth looms, the manuscript dramatically cuts off and the perspectives of a reporter and a retired detective take hold, revealing a threeages-of-man structure: student, mid-lifer and wise old-timer. Troubled male psyches provide one anchoring theme; the others include memory and the power of storytelling. Chirovici’s brisk prose style never allows self-reflection to become selfregard, and this is a meta-novel which possesses ripping momentum and brims with ambiguity. A high-grade mystery that’s ripe for investigation.