The Gillespie County Fair
Marc Hess crafted a very complicated read by building many character stories from the very beginning. All the characters have many flaws and all have much room to grow.
The story takes place in a small Texan city during The Gillespie County Fair. Funny enough, the fair itself takes up a couple pages at most and plays a minuscule part of the story.
Told in different POV’s, this novel is full of characters that seem to have a lot of baggage. A property catches fire during the night and we then learn that the property owner themselves caused the fire to commit insurance fraud. Carol, one of the main characters, tries to swoop in and buy the property as a last ditch effort to save his own failing business. Although he is a well-known businessman in town, the readers discover that he is going bankrupt and slowly witness his demise. Another main character is Carol’s estranged daughter Willow, who is dealing with her own problems in the wake of her absent father and barely there mother. One more character we hear from is Max, who left town 20 years ago to start fresh. After some failed ventures in his personal and professional life, he returns to town to focus on his new business. Max has very little importance to the story up until the last portion of the novel where many semi-absurd plot twists take place.
From the beginning, this novel did not hook me. I continued reading this on the note that I had a mere drop of curiosity as to what could possibly happen as well as knowing that this was a short read. I did not enjoy the racial slurs the main character used towards Mexicans as these could easily have been left out. I did not find even one character I could relate with nor were any of them redeemable. The story developed in a very slow pace and then plot twists were thrown in the mix at the end. The plot twists were barely explained, and even then had very little impact on the characters. I would give this read two stars. I don’t think it was a novel for me. I think a Texas native may have better luck with the novel as they may find more to connect with.