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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clunky, rushed and unconvincing, 21 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
I approached this book with some trepidation as the Clara in Comfort and Joy was such an insufferable, snobby, nasty monster of a character but I hoped that India Knight would have toned down the obnoxiousness of her protagonist and yes, she has a little. However, Clara is still quite a judgemental, sneery sort and it's these traits that makes this book somewhat hard to get through. The woefully written mother-in-law character of Pat isn't in this novel but of course Clara finds new people to sneer at, including one of her best friends. Try this opinion from half way through when Clara talks about cougars (the best friend is one) - "They're not sexy felines, they're maladjusted oddbods who can't interact with normal adults that they have to pick on children". Jaw-dropping. Clara looks down on absolutely everyone...must be quite exhausting to be someone like that. It's certainly tiring reading about it. Worse, is that this isn't really an effective novel in that there's no substantial characters, there's too much overlong tract-like prose and the characters occasionally speak in protracted and artificial speeches that real people very seldom too. The plot is slender and just not compelling, culminating in a Rockwellian portrait that I didn't believe in. Mutton finishes on less than 250 pages - I thought the general lack of conviction and effort throughout came across loud and clear and that the book's length is one indication of this. It's also as funny as having a tooth extracted.

And yet it's readable to a degree in that measured and accessible style of India's and some of the musings on ageing are sharply perceptive as I expected. I didn't entertain the thought of not finishing this book. But the content just doesn't hang together as a successful novel, really.

Typing this upstairs in the library, where I returned this just now (aren't you relieved we still have them...?). I feel that the author should either retire Clara or just not bother with any further novels.
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Location: London, U.K

Top Reviewer Ranking: 114,719