Weekly Reads: October 19-25
This past week wasn't the most satisfying of reading weeks, but that's the gamble any reader takes when reading advanced copies and stretching a bit outside of your preferred genres.
The Roanoke Girls, Amy Engel
288 Pages, March 2017
3 (polite) Stars
The generations of incest at the root of this novel made me deeply uncomfortable. The way it was depicted that so many girls in the family had been desperate for the love and sexual attention of their brother/uncle/father/grandfather was extremely overwhelming. My ignorance of the psychological reasoning behind incest in general may mean I'm missing something, but overall it was incomprehensible. If there was better dialogue and less cliched phrasing around the idea of "broken people" it might have been a better experience around the terrible heart of the novel. The hint of a mystery about a missing character compelled me to keep reading, a fact that kept this from being a two star read.
Dear Mr. M, Herman Koch
400 Pages, September 2016
Did Not Finish
I abhor anytime that disdain is mistaken for cleverness or superiority. Hating things does not make you elite or a particularly welcome addition to any community.
I made it through 24% of the ebook before finally saying enough was enough. Frankly, the one character's hatred of library books was what did it for me.
The pitfalls of mediocrity are used so repeatedly in the first quarter of the book that I can't find the line between the self-entitled characters with inflated egos and that of the author. This was a problem I found again and again. Does the author find women inferior and that comes out in his work? Or just his characters.
Perhaps I lack the sort of literary smarts to appreciate Koch's book, perhaps it's a satire and I missed the point. Regardless, I was so aware of the author that I was incapable of sinking into the story.
Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben
387 Pages, March 2016
Cohen's novels are a great go-to for audiobooks. They're generally compelling, taut, and full of enough mystery to keep my mind off any boring task or traffic jam. But this story felt a little thin. There was plenty of racing around and interesting back stories, but it lacked the tension I've become used to getting in Coben's books. There were multiple twists by the end though that were interesting. The epilogue was mushier than I was expecting, but I'm not sure what it says about me that I love shocking, chilling endings like in Clare Mackintosh books.
Lost Among the Living, Simone St. James
336 Pages, April 2016
This was the book selected for the October Once Upon A Book Club Box, to see details about the book please refer to my review of the box.
Next week's reviews will include "Through the Fog", a short audiobook, and finally Tana French's latest.