4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
True Enough but not quite good enough,
This review is from: True Enough (Hardcover)
This is an enjoyable read, on the whole. It's (mostly) written from the point of its two protagonists, Desmond and Jane. Their stories are different at the start of the novel but they meet and their stories intertwine.
Woven around their combined quest to find the truth about the life of a little-known singer (for a TV documentary they're making) are their personal quests to find the truth about their own relationships. Looking for meaning in relationships is familiar ground for Stephen McCauley.
Familiar characters too: Desmond, a gay man from New York with no particularly endearing characteristics, and Jane, rather stereotypical career-woman with a husband she doesn't find attractive any more.
These rather unpromising characters are matched by an equally unpromising central plot-line. Not much to work with then.
And I think that Stephen McCauley makes fairly heavy weather of the material he has lumbered himself with. Which is a shame, considering how light and deft his previous work is.
The saving grace for Desmond and Jane, who spend the entire novel looking for a reason to tell the story of "Pauline Anderton" is that they make an a astonishing discovery. Great for them, but for the reader, it comes too late and seems like an attempt to salvage a flagging plot.
Up until then, nothing much happens that surprises or interests, and we grind through the quite unattractive lives of characters we can't care much about. The writing is inelegant too: there's too much detail about, well, everything, and none of it adds to the story. It's neither significant, nor particularly interesting. It's just padding.
There are a few quirky characters, but even the most potentially interesting one, Rosemary, is given a "hammy" B-movie part to play. Jane's child, Gerald, is perhaps the most interesting character, but again he's handled without much subtlety.
I'd say that this is McCauley's least satisfying work to date, unfortunately.