Fasman, Jon 1975–
Fasman, Jon 1975–
ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—Simon Trewin, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
CAREER: Journalist and writer. Editor for Economist Web site.
The Geographer's Library (mystery novel), Penguin (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to Times Literary Supplement, Slate, Legal Affairs, Moscow Times, Washington Post, and Economist Web site.
WORK IN PROGRESS: "Another mystery set in Wickenden that deals with gambling, piracy, immigration, colonization, the American suburbs, and the history of playing cards."
SIDELIGHTS: Jon Fasman's first published novel, The Geographer's Library, earned favorable comparisons to Dan Brown's blockbuster thriller The Da Vinci Code. "This debut tells a terrific story—it's gripping, intelligent, and beautifully wrought," Barbara Hoffert declared in Library Journal. The Geographer's Library follows Paul Tomm, a fresh-out-of-college newspaper reporter, as he attempts to write an obituary for Jaan Puhapaev, a professor at Paul's alma mater, the fictional Wickenden University. It seems like a simple assignment, but the more Paul learns about Puhapaev, the stranger the man's death seems, especially after the coroner dies mysteriously before he can complete his autopsy report. In between the chapters that tell the story of Paul's investigation are interchapters, set in the past and around the world. These sections explain the history of fifteen sacred objects that originally resided in the library of the geographer of the title, Al-Idrisi, an actual historical figure who was in the service of the king of Sicily in the twelfth century. "The objects really are the whole point," Colleen Mondor wrote on the Bookslut Web site, "and the delicate way in which Fasman has crafted their history and design raises the entire book from popular fiction to a literary wonder." Washington Post reviewer David Liss also commented on what sets The Geographer's Library apart, writing that the book "makes an effort to get readers off their intellectual duffs by presenting the artifacts in catalog format, separating them from the narrative and demanding that they be seen as elements of a puzzle rather than props in a set piece." The mystery "will indeed test the most seasoned thriller-reader's wits," asserted a Kirkus Reviews critic, adding that this fact helps to make The Geographer's Library "one of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2004, Brad Hooper, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 553.
Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 33.
Entertainment Weekly, February 11, 2005, Jennifer Reese, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 68.
Harper's, February, 2005, John Leonard, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 83.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 1155.
Library Journal, November 15, 2004, Barbara Hoffert, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 49.
Newsweek, February 14, 2005, Malcolm Jones, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2005, Natalie Danford, "Most Likely to Succeed," p. 26, review of The Geographer's Library, p. 222.
Washington Post, February 27, 2005, David Liss, review of The Geographer's Library, p. T06.
Big Cat Chronicles, http://bigcatchronicles.blogharbor.com/ (May 22, 2005), review of The Geographer's Library.
Bookslut, http://www.bookslut.com/ (April, 2005), Colleen Mondor, review of The Geographer's Library.
Penguin Web site, http://www.penguin.co.uk/ (August 12, 2005), interview with Jon Fasman.