The Plainview Lottery

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Worth reading just for the uniqueness of it, but could have used one more round of editing. Human nature explored.
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I really struggled with this one.  It is a plodding narrative that says nothing and moves so slowly that i could catch flies in my sleep. Honestly I have no idea what this book brings to the literary world.  It is pages and a pages of people queuing for lottery tickets and precious little else.  a Political Satire  according to its metadata yet it fulfils none of the identifying factors for satire "the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues"  I certainly didn't smile let alone laugh I am sorry this just does not work
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The Plainview Lottery is a cautionary tale. Plainview is a content peaceful town. One day, some strangers come to town and offer a lottery. Greed and avarice get the better of the townspeople as they drain their savings in hopes of winning. This lottery is obviously a scam. It's a tale we've all heard. Be content with what you have. Don't want things you don't need. The story was just too long and repetitive. Otherwise, not a bad read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for giving a free copy of this book to review.

On the face of it, ‘The Plainview Lottery’ is a cautionary tale about greed and the susceptability of the human condition.

Plainview is a sleepy, content little town. All that changes when a few strangers arrive in the town overnight and set up a lottery. The promise of untold riches brings a gleam to every citizen’s eye and soon, the town capitulates to avarice. Regular, honest citizens give up their responsibilities and drain their savings in the pursuit of wealth, as they buy stacks of tickets in the vain hope that they will win.

As one might correctly assume, the game is rigged from the start and the strangers are only out to make a quick buck.

There was a lot of potential to the story, but Markas Dvaras squandered it all by settling for tacky prose and repetitive plot. The dialogue too, lacks life, as characters speak as if they’re reading lines from a script.

If done well, this could have been a wonderfully complex tale with rich, fully realised characters. As it were, the characters were not fleshed out and so, lack any depth. They’re more caricatures than people and as a result, you feel little empathy for them. Given that this was meant to teach a moral or two, the book fails as it, like I mention, does not draw any empathy from the reader.

For the novel idea and the interesting start to the book, I give this 2.5 stars.
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Ok, I think this should have been a short story - or novella at most. I'm 20% in and already it feels like it's dragging and there's nowhere to go that isn't obvious.  It's entirely possible there are hidden surprises here, but frankly the flat, one-dimensional characters and flat, one-dimensional tale thus far are not enough to drive my curiosity to find out...  Despite the intriguing concept, this one just did not appeal to me at all.
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A good book with a good message, felt a tad wordy in places that made it a dry read. Overall worth reading.
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A very different read to my usual choices, but I ended up on an enjoyable journey with this one. A bit of a reminder for us about want versus need!
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A charming fable-like story. Took me a while to get into the style of writing, but I did end up liking it. I know no one really talks like the characters did in the book, but go with it, and you might just like it. The people weren't particularly well fleshed out, but the town itself seemed like a great character. 

I did wish the book would have been tighter and more concise. It did get a little difficult making it all the way to the finish, but I was curious enough to want to find out how it all ended.  

The story kind of reminded me of the Simpsons monorail episode :)
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This book had a good concept. Not wanting more than you need. The book makes this clear, but I felt that it was too long. The book was a good read but shorter and more concise would have been a great read. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
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[Link will go live Sept. 20, 2017 @ 5 pm PST]

The Plainview Lottery: A Town Learns a Hard Lesson in Basic Economics by Markas Dvaras (also known as Mark Hall), would probably have been better as a novella or a short story. All things considered, though, it really isn't all that bad. The prose is clean, clear, and reminds me of Nathaniel Hawthorne. I love Nathaniel Hawthorne. And the plot of this book is similar to the Stone Soup folktale. I loved that story as a kid, so this really tapped into my nostalgia. However, because this is, at best, a novella-worthy idea stretched into a full-length novel, there are a few issues.

First, there is a lot of repetition. A LOT of it. The characters repeat lines and phrases. The narrative repeats descriptions of places and actions. Some of this verges on hypnosis. And as someone with genuine, clinically diagnosed OCD whose mental loops can be triggered by repetition, it was right on the border of uncomfortable for me. (Side note for those who are unaware due to popular misconceptions: OCD is less about handwashing and more about uninvited mental stutters. Think— anxiety and an annoying song had a kid. OCD manifests a little differently for different people. But that anxiety + annoying song analogy is EXTREMELY apt for me. But, I digress.)

Second, the townspeople who begin as naive, not very bright, and loveable start to take on a slightly creepy vibe as this charade draws out. And I don't think it's intentional because this is not a horror story. The citizens of Plainview obsessed over the lottery without openly questioning it. They walked around with chipper, happy-go-lucky attitudes for months. And it started to remind me more and more of The Stepford Wives (which, I admit, I've only seen the movie version thus far).

Third, we only meet about five women in the novel. And they're all either accessories to their husbands or literally asked to make sandwiches. If I have to explain why this is a problem, you probably should unfollow my blog.

Fourth, with the exceptions of Old Man Miller and the strangers from out of town, all of the non-women characters feel like variations of the same person. They use the same phrases. Make the same unfunny jokes. Think the same thoughts. Again, refer to my earlier comparison to The Stepford Wives.

In the end, though, I can safely say the story does NOT have a scary twist. It is simply a folktale-like story drawn out way past its limit. But at its heart, it is an innocent parable about only wanting as much as you need. And who can't use that reminder from time to time?
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