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Yet Today


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Gillum Kaosky is an observer of the minor disappointments of daily life.

in Yet Today, Spanish teacher Gillum Kaosky gets a summer job translating wiretaps for the DEA. Eavesdropping on the everyday phone calls of an extended family leads him to look more closely at his own relationships.

The opening paragraphs of this novel so accurately capture the boredom and repetition of another faculty meeting about meaningless paperwork, I was instantly sympathetic to Gillum. The book goes on to accurately capture the boredom and repetition of going to the annual family trip and arguing politics with the in-laws, and the boredom and repetition of running errands, or job interviews, or life with moody teens, or highway driving, or duty visits to relatives. This became an incredibly slow read, with plot points (or what I hoped would become plot points) raised and then drowned in minutiae. Gillum Kaosky is an observer, but an observer of the minor disappointments of daily life. 

Throughout the novel, there are lifelike moments that show the strain between well-meaning relatives. For example, Gillum thinks that Trump is the problem and with the impeachment of Trump, sanity will return. Jonah sees Trump as one minor aspect of a failing system in a failing society, and expects more of the same. There's neither a fight nor a real attempt to share viewpoints, just disappointment on both sides, as thought all the arguments and attempts to convince have been finished, for sad realism.

After Gillum records the mundane phone conversations of the family under investigation, he goes home and has similar conversations in his family. There's a numbing sameness to the conversations, it's almost too realistic to hear Gillum ask his daughters where their mother is, for example, and know that the same question has been asked and answered in the same room thousands of times. At a few points, the conversations become hard to follow without dialogue tags because all of the disappointed, misunderstood characters blur a bit. (With one notable exception: when Gillum's republican brother-in-law scoffs "Climate change? That's what we used to call weath-uh." I laughed out loud. I felt like I'd met that guy.)

What makes this frustrating to read is that it's so close to being a powerful story. Over the course of the summer, Gillum is discovering that his wife and son have separate, complex internal lives, too, and his new awareness could be the beginning of a new stage of their relationships. He's also discovering that he's not all that different from those he looks down on, whether that's the crime families he's monitoring, annoying relatives, or even people in jail. These could be powerful revelations for our protag, but the slow pace of this novel detracts from them. 

Reviewed by

I'm an avid reader and book blogger, I'm always looking for new books and new authors. I like historical fiction, literature, scifi, specfic, thrillers (without gore) and general character-driven fiction.

I usually cross-post my Reedsy reviews to my book blog.

Reconciliation or Not

About the author

A former journalist with the Associated Press and United Press International in Mexico and Central and South America, Caplan currently works and writes in New Hampshire. His previous titles include The Jonah Trilogy, Birdman, and Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home. view profile

Published on June 05, 2020

Published by

70000 words

Genre: Literary Fiction

Reviewed by