Last night, I finished The Oddfits, a new novel by Tiffany Tsao. It doesn’t officially come out until February 1, but I bought a Kindle edition for $2.99 through Amazon’s Kindle First Program, so thanks, Amazon!
Seriously, this is a great program everyone who has a Kindle should try. Amazon emails you once a month with about 5 or 6 soon-to-be-released titles, one of which you can prebuy for $2.99! The selection is great, and it’s a wonderful way to get ahead of the curve in finding new classics.
Here is the Amazon.com description of The Oddfits:
Eight-year-old Murgatroyd Floyd doesn’t fit in—not as a blue-eyed blonde living in Singapore, not in school, and certainly not with his aloof expatriate parents, who seem determined to make his life even harder. Unbeknownst to him, there’s a reason why he’s always the odd boy out: he is an Oddfit, a rare type of human with access to the More Known World, a land invisible to most people. Yet unfortunate circumstances keep Murgatroyd stranded in the Known World, bumbling through life with the feeling that an extraordinary something is waiting for him just beyond reach.
Seventeen years later, that something finally arrives when a secret organization dedicated to exploring the More Known World invites Murgatroyd on a mission. But as the consummate loser begins to grow into the Oddfit he was meant to be, the Known World becomes bent on exterminating him. For once in his underachieving life, will Murgatroyd Floyd exceed expectations and outsmart those trying to thwart his stupendous destiny?
This description intrigued me enough to purchase the book, and what I found was a delightfully odd story, with one of the strangest and yet most captivating protagonists I’ve ever read. Murtatroyd seems extraordinarily stupid, maybe even a bit mentally challenged, but yet he excels at his job as a waiter. His parents clearly have some hidden agenda (their behavior towards him is awful) and yet he loves them devotedly. The writing is pleasant, with a whimsical tone. While not spawning many of the extraordinary sentences we love to quote, the writing is beautiful in its own way, and excels at giving us information beyond merely the words. An example:
“They were each aware of it in the same way that one accustomed to the state of hunger is dimly conscious of a perpetual muted ache in one’s belly- an ache, which, over time, simply becomes an integral part of daily existence.”
-Tiffany Tsao, The Oddfits
“It’s not a matter of figuring out what parts of the great universe we can utilize for our own selfish, petty means. It’s a matter of putting aside our own ridiculous self-importance in order to attempt to understand it in all its magnificence and splendour.”
-Tiffany Tsao, The Oddfits
The plot moves along somewhat slowly, but the inner workings of Murgatroyd’s character were to me so fascinating that I didn’t mind the somewhat slow pace of a novel. The other side characters, especially Ann and Kay Huat, are wonderfully fleshed out. In fact, this book gets a 5 out of 5 stars in my mind for characterization, as well as for setting authenticity. Though I’ve never been to Singapore, I could picture the city in my mind so beautifully. The fantasy element to this book, the More Known World, is so fascinating as well.
Overall, the plot of this novel isn’t vivid and gripping, but its characters and setting, in my mind, more than make up for it. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, fairly quick and quirky read with fascinating characters!
4/ 5 stars!
Note: Beware, this is the first in a series 🙂