On the Bookshelf
Well-known journalist publishes first novel
By Karen Wentworth
UNM Press, 2004
by V.P. Price
V.B. Price is well-known for his long running column in the Albuquerque Tribune, and for his books on architecture and design but “The Oddity” is the first novel he has published.
Price weaves a complex tale of living life at the edge of reality. The book unfolds through a series of vignettes from journal entries and parts of a book written by Lowell Briscoe, one of the main characters.
Set in Albuquerque’s north valley and Los Angeles, California, Briscoe explores his mind looking for what is real and how perceptions of an event can alter lives.
It all centers on a series of events in the late 1948’s as Hana Nicholas, an eccentric and reclusive woman living in the north valley, befriends Briscoe, a troubled young boy being raised by his half-sister. Is being a free spirit and a little odd enough to justify a verdict of insanity and a sentence to an asylum by well-meaning friends and neighbors?
At what point does individuality veer into insanity?
Price has written the book as the work of a fictional Helen Contreras-Robles. In her introduction to the novel, Contreras-Robles says, “My ultimate goal with this novel could be described as an effort to fictionally represent the modern, and to some extent, postmodern struggle to maintain personal integrity in a philosophically unstable world.”
A native of Los Angeles, Price has lived in Albuquerque for 40 years. He teaches in the UNM Honors Program and School of Architecture and Planning.