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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
Extraneous by Richard Siciliano is so well written it will make other writers raise the bar for the quality of their own works. It is so funny it will make you cry, a masterpiece of introspection, and a testament to how much we are into ourselves that we sometimes find we are unable to mesh with reality. Yet, I found Extraneous eerily grounded in the day to day minutia of surviving in the modern world. I found this one of the main strengths of the novel. Details of how to wind your way through a maze of government paperwork and daily encounters with our legal system made this novel stand out for me. This is life in the modern world and sometimes it is crazy and overwhelming. So much so that it will convince us that it is we who are crazy. This is what drives our sympathy and affection for the main character.
I totally love and relate to Arnold, the protagonist of Extraneous. What I loved most about him was the way he paid attention to everything that goes on around him. Attention to detail is not a common trait. I started learning it in the military and I know I haven’t mastered it, but Arnold is a Master of It. Combine that with his natural abundance of compassion and you have a great character. There are so many great characters in this book, and they all fit into this modern, very realistic plot. These are the people of everyday modern life, people we sometimes fail to notice. But Arnold notices them. This is his strength and weakness. The setting is well done, shown through the eyes of a man who doesn't miss anything. And as I mentioned in the beginning, you won’t find better writing anywhere.