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WHY AM I READING THIS????????
on 10 March 2015
Apparently, BROTHER OF THE MORE FAMOUS JACK is a classic of modern European literature. Apparently, it is also hysterically funny, and according to my favourite quoted review from the front of the book, The Daily Telegraph says it is "very funny, very English, and very sad." Well I certainly agree with at least one of these points. There is nothing more English than this novel. Even the sadness factor has faded to a potential figure of pure opacity for the reader, as nothing remotely melancholy has been talked about by this celebrated and deservedly much loved author yet. (I am up to page eighty!)
The writing itself is a joy to read. The competence, self confidence and assuredness of Ms Trapido is a thing of wonder, even more so when you realise this was her first published novel. The characters quite literally jump out of the book's universe and poke you in the eye. Some you hate, some you love and some you just wish they would cut the crap and jump into bed together. To be honest, though, my favourite (so far) of the family is the young violin prodigy Master Roger, who seems to have more mood swings than the grandfather clock's pendulum. Young Roger, who is destined to be loved by Katherine (or is he?) and of course there is his younger brother Jonathan... (Oooerrr!) Plus three other siblings, with one more about to enter via stage left (and the emergency birthing department of the local bedroom upstairs, if you know what I mean).
Young Katherine is immediately befriended by the woman of the household, Jane Goldman, and it is fair to say the two of them enjoy their fair share of giggle parties and mascara swapping, and stuff. There is also an interesting degree of political incorrectness to be found amongst these hallowed pages, too, but given the book's essential nature as a family drama, I guess that is to be expected.
The book's blurb printed on the back cover is about the only thing preventing me from throwing the paperback across the room to land messily and harmfully in my small indoor fish tank. At least there, (the book's back cover, not the fish tank!) one can find a hint of the promise of significant drama, some compelling reason to keep reading and find out who ends up with whom, and whose heart is broken into a million pieces. And by whom. And of course, what else is planned to occur.
At my early stage of the book - page eighty - I give it three stars. Assuming I reach the end in one piece (and assuming the book is still in one piece by then, too!) then i will plan to update to this review.
See you then!
Ok the book is finished! Certainly on reflection the second half was better but it was overwhelmingly sad and even the emotionally high points (Katherine getting pregnant for a second time) was fraught with danger and even the reader was scared of at least one dreadful event, if not two. My over riding emotion is one of relief that the book is finished, and that i can get on with something else. I will definitely keep the book on my "literature" shelf but i am certainly not in any rush to read the thing again. My initial rating of three stars remains.