Confessions of Max Tivoli
by Andrew Sean Green, 2004
With an intriguing science fiction-like premise, and written in an accessible but literary style, Greer’s novel is memorable and truly unique. When was the last time you read a book in which the main character was born as a very tiny old man, and then proceeds to age backwards throughout his life, so that he dies seventy years later with the appearance of a newborn?
A big part of the novel is the bittersweet love story at its core. Max’s strange “condition,” and his unwillingness to tell others about it, naturally has a negative effect on his ability to sustain a romantic relationship. The benefit of his strange malady is that is allows him second and third chances with Alice, the love of his life; she doesn’t recognize him, years between their meetings, as the same man, aging backwards (who would?), The setting, turn of the century San Francisco, is also beautifully evoked. Highly recommended for anyone looking for gorgeous writing and an arresting premise.