This Is How It Really Sounds, by Stuart Archer Cohen, is a book about three men who share the name Peter Harrington. “Harry” Harrington is a former extreme skier, Pete Harrington a washed up rock star, and Peter Harrington is basically a Bernie Madoff-type who actually gets away with it. Having the three main characters connected by their shared same name was a creative twist–one that could have felt forced or heavy-handed, but never did. And I really loved all three Peter Harringtons. They were so different from each other, but their connections to one another felt completely believable and organic.
Truthfully, this book didn’t progress how I thought it would at all–and I mean this in a good way. After reading Part One, I figured I had a pretty good idea where Cohen was going with everything. So when he made such an abrupt shift in plot beginning in Part Two, I was really, genuinely surprised.
But, amazingly, that wasn’t the end of it; the story kept reinventing itself, with Cohen frequently adding new angles in plot or new relationship dynamics between characters in unexpected and engaging ways. It finally came to an extremely satisfying and successful conclusion by naturally completing Harry’s story from Part One.
Overall, I just loved it. From start to finish, I thought this book was refreshingly unpredictable, imaginative, and unique. Cohen is definitely on my radar now. I hope this book does well for him, and I look forward to reading his next one.