In his daring novel Ed King, David Guterson reimagines Oedipus Rex in contemporary America. Unlike Oedipus in the original Greek drama, Ed is not royalty per se but the contemporary equivalent: a billionaire tech titan, "the King of Search." Born of a fling between a married man and Diane, a much-younger British au pair, baby Ed is left on a stranger's doorstep and soon adopted into a loving family. Ed grows up handsome, intellectually gifted, and powered by a relentless self-confidence. The narrative runs briskly through decades and multiple points of view as Guterson carves a wry edge into Sophocles's tragedy about an abandoned baby who grows up to kill his father and marry his mother. For 27 years, Diane's and Ed's lives run on parallel tracks: she continually reinventing herself—working as a high-end call girl, dog walker, and, eventually, life coach—and he graduating Stanford and beginning his conquest of the digital world. When they meet by chance, the attraction is immediate and the implications horrifyingly obvious, though not to the lustily oblivious couple. Guterson acknowledges that readers will be "shuddering at the prospect" of these two having sex, but it's worth pushing past the ick factor. Somehow, Guterson keeps the novel winningly good-natured and almost farcical, all the better to teach timeless lessons about hubris, ambition, and the consequences of long-ago sins.
— Karen Holt
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 5, 2013