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Customer Review

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A partially obscured but powerful story, 4 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
Beth and Derek are on a cruise - the youngest people aboard by far. Derek has planned to propose but is miserable and confined to his cabin with seasickness, instead. Beth wanders the decks and meets up with Arthur, a successful fraudulent psychic. It soon becomes clear their meetings are not the result of chance: Beth and Art have a secret history, but what is the truth of it (and them) and will their future be together or apart?

I found this book quite infuriating. Large chunks of the narrative are told in the second person, which in itself was not a problem, but the laborious verbosity was: there are whole swathes of tortured, pretentious, pseudo-philosophising nonsense obscuring what is actually a good story. After the first 50 pages I was on the cusp of giving up. I managed to keep going, though, and by page 100 I had discovered enough of Beth and Arthur to want to learn what had and would happen to them.

As the novel progresses, more and more of their story emerges. It is captivating, and is interrupted by fewer and fewer of the irritating second person interludes which do not add anything to the story. They do, however, slow down the exposition and make the reader keener than ever to get back to the real `action'. This is not an action-packed story; it is about how people get under one another's skin, it's about guilt, power within relationships and it's about love. The tension is expertly built, and the ending leaves the reader hanging. I guessed the reason for Arthur and Beth's separation but its revelation was still wrenching and I was surprised how much I could care about these characters who were kept at such a distance for so long. The ending will not satisfy some readers: it is not perfectly rounded and does not tie off one big loose end, but in this instance & context, this worked.

Ultimately I did enjoy this book, but I found its power and poignancy was diluted a little by the long-winded, overwrought, over-thought passages which simply irritated me. The remainder of the story was sufficient to overcome my irritation but it felt like hard work to wade through to that point and I think unfortunately the style will put off a lot of readers before they reach it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Oct 2012 21:19:38 BDT
S. Seel says:
I am not going to get to the end page 167 and Ive had enough!
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