Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 281 (11/11) -- Fingerprints by Will Dinski

Beauty is skin deep, they say. But who can see through skin in the first place? And what would we see if we could?

Will Dinski's Fingerprints is the story of one cosmetic surgeon -- a very good, very well connected one -- and a rather quickly burlesqued drive for beauty. It's set in Hollywood, or the equivalent -- the story never says, but the main characters are famous actors, wanna-bees, and the surgeons who rework everyone's faces.

Dr. Fingers is the reigning king of plastic surgery; Dr. Yumiko Tatsu is his indispensable assistant. Dinski sketches their relationship quickly, tossing stars and regular folks into the mix with little or no introduction and expecting the reader to get up to speed. There are at least two overlapping love triangles, but what everyone in Fingerprints really wants is to look better -- to be someone that they're not.

So, inevitably, the young protege goes off on her own, and has a radical, strange new treatment that her mentor never would have countenanced. And that treatment is an immediate, massive success...until its drawbacks become clear. And then Dinski swiftly ends his book; he's just sketching in the outlines of his story here, and has no intention to follow up on all of the implications (or any of them, to be honest).

Dinski also has a stiff style; his characters move blockily, as if they're puppets on sticks, giving all of Fingertips the air of a carefully stage-managed diversion, with just enough detail to be plausible but not so much as to demand deep attention. Fingertips is diverting, but it doesn't go much deeper than that; the characters remain mostly ciphers, their motives unclear or hidden and their actions more puzzling than surprising.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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