Saturday, November 30, 2013

You Know Where This One's Going

From the moment you start reading The Billionaire's Gift by Edward Iwata, you know pretty much what's going to happen before the end. That's not necessarily a problem. It is intended as a familiar story. The unnamed billionaire is a cold-hearted bastard interested only in himself and money. There will be a back story which explains this. Something will happen that causes a shift, and the money will start to flow.

This doesn't mean that reading the story is boring. The story of the billionaire's loyal secretary, seemingly placed in the book as another way to show us how much this guy is a bastard, takes on it's own life. Part of you will wonder why she sticks with this guy, given her level of skill. In fact, you will have lots of questions about these two people before it is all over, until it hits you.

Iwata tells you right up front that this is a parable. One of the traits of that form is to be sparing. Lots of details are left out because the story is merely the vehicle for the message. So, no names, no long descriptions of rooms, no sweeping narrative arc. Just enough details to get us where he want s to go. Fortunately, the novella is short enough to be read in an evening; this is not something that will hold your attention too long.

And yes, it has something to say about God, something that a lot of people need to hear. And no, it doesn't have much to say about the evils of capitalism overall, just the evil of excessive greed, so you folks on the left will need to put that concern aside; find a different book to discuss that issue.

I do prefer the parables that include a twist ending. There is a small twist at the end, but not much of one. Not all parables end with a twist, so the reader has no right to expect one. Like I said, you know where this one is going when you start. Nevertheless, you'll probably enjoy the ride along the way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.