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Don't judge a book by it's cover - a new real-life example
on 20 December 2011
Well, our all-male book club, me included, got drawn in by the cover jokily depicting scenes form the Kama Sutra while critics praised it and just inside the cover we were reminded that this same author had delighted us with My Beautiful Laundrette and Buddha of Suburbia...we really should know better. Tempted by a little light relief and gratuitous sex we were instead treated to pretentious drivel written in the first person that casts grave doubt in my mind on this author's view of himself.
The plot was thin and lacked credibility, the dialogue was clunky, and this book should definitely have had a nomination for the Literary review's annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award with lines like "When I did eventually come - it was hard work: I felt as if I'd shoved a heavy train through a long tunnel". I have never highlighted so many passages in a book on my Kindle before because I was struck by how bad they were.
I read a review which suggested Kureishi had skillfully built the tension about the murder. Well, I was obviously reading a different book because no such feat was pulled off in the book I was reading and at the end this supposed tension was left to just implode into nothing. Woe betide that the central character should carry any blame or fault. When male authors write in the first person and their characters are seemingly irresistible to women, blameless in everything even though they have done dodgy things, successful, intellectual, handsome etc. am I only one who suspects a bit of projection is going on? Stieg Larsson got away with it because his characters are so fascinating and the plot is enthralling, Kureishi cannot.
So glad to have finished this book and be able to move on to something else.