10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I won't do this again,
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This review is from: The Great Night (Hardcover)I bought this book on the strength of two ecstatic reviews - one in The Guardian and one in The Observer. Unusually for me I'm struggling to finish it. Not because it's a difficult read, or too long, or with characters who aren't sufficiently differentiated from each other, or whatever . . . . just, well, it's dull. And, it seems to me, it's grasp is less than its reach. Clearly the two reviewers didn't agree - the guy in The Guardian said "Chris Adrian is the most extraordinary novelist you've never heard of", and The Observer reviewer wrote ". . . Chris Adrian's audacious, bewitching third novel." So it came highly recommended, apparently. But maybe it's the American setting, maybe it's the not-very-sympathetic characters, but I stopped halfway through and read two other books before returning. And I'm still not quite at the end. As I say, that's unusual for me.
But - please be assured - it's not the whimsicality I object to, it's not homophobia or homophilia, it's not even the disjointed narrative - multi-viewpoint, multi- timetable - that stopped me. And it's not the use of my favourite Shakespeare play as a skeleton to hang this on - indeed, one of the best light novels of recent years is, in my humble opinion, Amanda Craig's "Love In Idleness" which more or less replicates the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream, minus the Immortals - no, none of these. It's simply that I found it dull. The extraordinary events, characters, and places described need a less pedestrian style. You can imagine Neil Gaiman doing this better! So I can't recommend this book. And I won't believe newspaper reviews so readily again.
(And if you want a riff on AMSNDream, try the Amanda Craig!)
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jun 2011 21:25:37 BDT
D. Payne says:
Fascinating! I have wish-listed this book on the strength of the same Guardian review you read. I'm still going to give it a go and if I don't enjoy it, I know who to check for reviews in the future!
Posted on 29 Jul 2011 22:41:03 BDT
Sue Kichenside says:
Having just finished this book (phew, what a relief), I couldn't agree with your reviewer more. While not objecting to any individual strands of the 'plot', I found that the whole thing failed to hang together in any meaningful way. Chris Adrian clearly should have followed his Shakespeare a little more and provided something of a real narrative. And Shakespeare knew a thing or two about going "off-piste" without losing the plot altogether. I kept getting the feeling something interesting was going to happen when it all came together, but it never did. What a shame. 0 stars, IMHO.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2011 08:52:04 BDT
Glad it's not just me . . .
Posted on 11 Nov 2011 16:50:56 GMT
The Amanda Craig book is great, but it's actually called 'Love in Idleness'
1Love in Idleness
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2011 18:21:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Nov 2011 18:21:29 GMT
Of course! My memory isn't what it was - I'll do an edit. Thanks
Posted on 30 Jun 2012 17:55:27 BDT
Be wary - the Guardian is strongly recommending this again (30/06/2012) now that it's out in paperback. You have to wonder what criteria some of these reviewers use!
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