Codex, by Lev Grossman, is the story of a man who takes a vacation from work and gets deeply involved in the mystery and intrigue of a man and a woman fighting over the history of family by searching for a hidden codex. It is exciting, intriguing, extremely intellectually driving story. Several times I re-read a paragraph because I knew I had not fully comprehended the intelligence of each sentence the first time.
Here is the blurb:
Edward Wozny, a high-flying twenty-something personal banker, is about to take his first vacation in years. But before he can quite relax an unusual assignment comes his way: A wealthy, aristocratic client is asking — insisting even — that he help her inventory the private library she and her husband have inherited.
Edward enlists the help of a young woman who has a better grasp of history than he does, and an unlikely friendship develops. Both of them are awkward nerds of the first order who live complicated lives without fulfilling all the nerd stereotypes. One of the things I love about Lev Grossman’s writing is that his stories revolve around nerdy people without falling into every stereotype of fat people on couches gaming. I did find the ending got bogged down in the exposition of all the mathematical and historical reasoning behind every action instead of just describing the action and believing the audience is smart enough to figure out most of the reasoning on their own. I admit to skimming some of the more detailed paragraphs and skipping to the actual actions and emotions of the character. But all in all the book was excellent, full of vibrant moods, emotions, and complicated writings of history and love and life. A must read for those interested in more than escapism but wanting fiction to explain book binding, medieval writing, and how two people can find friendship in working toward something together.
Read another review here.