The basic flaw of this book, it seems to me, is that it is written in the first person, but tries to tell a story spanning 3 generations. The contrived idea that the main character is supposed to be using her imagination to reconstruct a possible reality which existed before her time fails entirely to convince, given that the detail and incident in the 'memories' is so vivid and so integral to the attempt at meaning in the book. In any case, if she's not sure she's making it all up, neither is the reader, which eventually undermines the credibility of almost every character.
The writing style seems like a poor attempt to emulate A.L. Kennedy, though even this might have been more successful if the explicit metaphors were not repeatedly inconsistent and inappropriate. For example, on page 109, Charlie (the main character's grandfather) is described/imagined bidding his bachelor days farewell, "the ravishing, tawdry, endless tristesse of one woman or another....until a man had to address his member as you might a dribbling dog, 'Enough, sir! Enough.' "
Quite apart from the fact that it surely ought to have been 'he might', instead of 'you might', whoever addressed a dog as 'sir'? I grimaced repeatedly throughout the book at innumerable examples of similarly confused imagery.
Who was on that Man Booker Jury?
4 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?