Monday, October 15, 2007

the one that got away

In most things I’m a firm believer in saving the best till last - I finish the cornet before eating the flake, open the junk mail saving the parcel. Except when it comes to a box of chocolates, when I always leave those I don’t like till last in the hope that someone else might pick them instead. (Note - contrary to recent appearance I am not food obsessed, I read far more than I eat, I’m just food analogy obsessed). But with this years Booker I took the chocolate box approach - leaving the unappealing trio of Self Help, The Gift of Rain and Winnie and Wolf till the end. The first two proved quite tasty but I choked on the latter.

25 pages in and there is a hint of nausea within - I’m feeling edgy, my fingertips plucking at the corners of the page, my eyes all over the shop. I just can’t do it, almost like an allergy, the novel repels my every attempt to focus.

To be honest I was bored by the cover blurb. I liked the sound of the Hitler content, and I was happy to accept a hearty dose of European philosophy, but the opera wass a step too far. Add in the tone of the novel - the blithering narrator and his pseudo text-book style and it was a lost cause.

I used to force myself to finish every book I started. But then I realised that life is far too short and there are too many better books gathering dust for me to spend time with ones I don’t get along with. So Winnie and Wolf will join the slender ranks of this years unfinished. Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree - which I know I will return to, but just wasn’t right on that particular day. Will Self’s The Book of Dave - which I wanted to like, having partially conquered my fear of his use of unfamiliar words when I thoroughly enjoyed How the Dead Live, but which I didn’t get on with at all. And Claire Messuds’ The Last Life - which struck me as too dreamy and too French.

It’s a huge shame that in quitting this novel I’ve failed my self set Booker challenge. But perhaps liking the first 12 used up my Booker luck, so A. N. Wilson became the unlucky 13th.

1 comment:

dandelion said...

You didn't fail - failure is wasting your time with something dull. And there should have been only twelve books anyway! Congratulations on finishing!...x