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December 22, 2023

Many Are Invited by Dennis Cuesta ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

A housewarming party ends in tragedy. . . Steve Galanos, a native Midwesterner, reflects on his time in and near Silicon Valley during the 1990s, a time when the two-digit year emerged as the Y2K problem, the burgeoning Internet fueled the expansion of the New Economy, the dot-com bubble created unseen prosperity and real estate frenzies. Yet it’s a housewarming party, held in late 1999, that affects him the most.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of literary fiction novel Many Are Invited by Dennis Cuesta
October 2022; Celestial Eyes Press; 978-1957885001
audio, ebook, print (254 pages); literary fiction

Many Are Invited
has been on my TBR list for a while and I'm not sure what drew me to it in the first place. Perhaps I thought it would be like The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello which was also involved technology. Or maybe it was to experience through another person a piece of history that I lived through.

I was working as a zoo keeper and worked both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I remember prepping extra water buckets in case there wasn't any electricity when the calendar rolled over. It was all a waster of course and January 1, 2020 was like any other start of the new year.

We know from the summary that a tragedy occurs at the party but we don't know any details so I thought perhaps this is a mystery novel. But it really isn't. The actual plot actually matters very little as the book is all about the characters. If you enjoy character-driven stories or "people watching", then this is your kind of book. 

For me, the 1990s don't feel that long ago but according to the calendar, it's been more than a minute. Reading this novel put the time more in perspective. A few readers have mentioned the sexism in the novel. I felt like the author captured the culture on the 1990s pretty well. The way the male characters talk about women is pretty spot on. 

I'm not sure I actually liked any of the characters. The story is told from Steve Galons's POV so some of it might have been seeing the characters through his eyes. But the conversations he had with Mary and Lauren individually had me disliking both of the main female characters.

A lot of reviews mention that this is a re-telling of The Great Gatsby. I'm not sure if this was part fo the marketing materials when the book first came out - if so, it might be the reason I picked up the book. While reading the book, I didn't see the parallel but now that it's been mentioned I can see some similarities. 

The story begins and ends at the housewarming party, but in the middle, the reader is taken back to the mid-1990s when IT people first became aware of what would become known as the Y2K bug. It was kind of interesting to get the background on an issue that dominated the last year of the 1990s. 

The book is a short, quick read. So if you are still trying to meet your reading goal for the year, think about picking up this book.

Buy Many Are Invited at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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