As I was going to be travelling through the same country — nay, exact city of Hiroshima — as author Glenn Patterson, I thought I’d read The Third Party (978-0856408090) during my actual journey. That was rewarding: Patterson’s script and detail as his characters wander through the place of the atomic bomb was truly accurate and a joy to read.
I understood the character development also, between the relatively dull protagonist and a complementary, more mysterious character, an unlikely star writer who’s come from a checkered background. For the first half of the novel, I didn’t mind the conversations and tensions between the two.
The pace quickens in the last third, and the climatic event is left very late. I won’t spoil it, but I was rather disappointed. Considering the use of subtlety and exposing the complications that is mature adulthood (demonstrations of accomplished writing), the sudden halt came across like a secondary school essay. It’s the reason I don’t watch soap operas; they’re so predictable, and the ending to The Third Party left me feeling cheated. But perhaps that’s Patterson’s point?