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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Books we’d like to read

Blue Ridge (published 2000) and True Cross (published this year) by American author TR Pearson chronicle the adventures of Paul Tatum, who in between books metamorphoses from an actuary into an accountant. The following summary review of the earlier book in Booklist certainly captured our attention:

‘Someone once described TR Pearson as a cross between Faulkner and Mark Twain. That’s a comparison that should flatter any writer, but, remarkably, it’s apt. In seven earlier novels, his stories and prose meandered like a lazy river as his characters confronted the grand themes of literature and life--love, death, faith, passion, loss, desire--as well as its trivial and antic moments. Pearson’s voice is at once compassionate, wise, and very, very funny. This novel is no exception. In it, the stories of two men, cousins Ray and Paul Tatum, are told in parallel. Ray is a new deputy sheriff in Hogarth, Virginia, a sleepy town along the Appalachian Trail. His first assignment is to find out what happened to the set of human bones discovered by hikers on the trail. Paul is an actuary who must go to New York City to identify the headless body of a man he hasn’t seen in many years – his son. These stories play out in Virginia and in Manhattan, and each locale and its denizens offers Pearson wonderful opportunities to observe and comment on the human condition. Another fine novel by a master storyteller.’ (Thomas Gaughan)