Monday, May 26, 2008

Cryptic Writing, Please Explain, Someone, Anyone?

I just painfully finished The Gathering by Anne Enright. Why painfully? The writing was so vague and cryptic. I can't be like the reviewer at Amazon: "This book is written in a meaty, organic style, rare to find (e.g., "There was something about the smell of us growing up that drove (our parents) completely insane." and "The ground is boiling with corpses, the ground is knit out of their tangled bones.")" In my mind, the author must have taken a lifetime to write the story of the effect of a pedophile on a brother's life in such a round about way.

It's not that I consider myself a stupid reader, I don't have to have everything laid out for me in a predictable style. However, I do like to be able to make connections to the story or to a character. I guess the author was trying to write a book like Angela's Ashes by creating even worse parents for an Irish family.

Why did I spend the time to read this book? Damned if I know, usually I go by my own rule that by being as close to fifty that I am, that I can now read books that I enjoy. My life is to short to waste on the pretentious books. Maybe I read it to try to figure out what the critics saw in it for others to enjoy. In the category of beach books, summer reads, pass this one over.


  1. I'm not as patient as you are. If a book doesn't grab me and hold me, I move on. Even if it's supposed to be good for me, like spinach. "The Shipping News" was one such (pretentious) book. Or even if it comes highly recommended from a friend, like the book written by Patty Hearst about William Randolph Hearst and his role in Thomas Ince's death at sea. My cousin Rose loved it, and I thought, great! This is gonna be such juicy fun. Nah. Yawn.

    So don't look at it as time wasted. Think of it as a tribute to your perseverance! (And I'm glad to see you got to hit even a small bucket of balls.)

  2. Now that's funny, I did like The Shipping News, b/c I could make connections to the crazy drunks that I have heard about in Nova Scotia. Living on an island can make you crazy. But usually I do just read the ending and move on, don't know why I didn't in this case.

  3. I doubt that I would have gone past the first chapter.

  4. I agree with the Gal. I won't finish a book if it doesn't grab me. Glad you told me about this one. I've read other reviews of yours that were spot on. I'll go with your judgement and find some lighter fare.


Any thoughts or musings of your own to add?