In the Absence of Absalon is the sequel to Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon. Although I did not read the first part of this series, I was not confused as plot is not important for this novel and Okotie explains what happens in the previous book succinctly.
With Absence… an unnamed detective is taking over his predecessor’s Marguerite’s case, which is investigating the sudden disappearance of Harold Absalon. The reason why is because Marguerite has gone missing too.
In the Absence of Harold Absalon has the most simple plot to ever grace a novel : The unnamed detective enters a gate, looks for his key, enters a house and goes downstairs.
However with Okotie takes these everyday actions to new dimensions. All the actions, from patting the pockets to find the key to each step the detective takes is told with meticulous detail with the odd diversion.
I am a huge fan of books which focus on the minutiae of life, at times I was reminded of Nicholson Baker or Tom McCarthy but I felt that Okotie stands out as his obsession with detail comes out humorous and there were times I chuckled at the frozen pizza digression or how the detective thought about frisking.
Weirdly enough, despite this book being more an exercise on using Ockham’s Razor to obsessive levels, Okotie does drop some clues which actually do shed light on the mystery. Most of the time though this done through footnotes provided by the narrator of the book and it does pique curiosity.
In the Absence of Harold Absalon is a book that stands out and it is worth noting that it was longlisted for the amazing Republic of Consciousness Prize. There is nothing like it.Really my only gripe is that this mystery will probably be solved by the time I hit my 75th year (2053)
Here are some other Republic of Consciousness Longlisted books: