Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Incredible, Forgettable, Preventable: my mini book reviews

Because I tend to read many books that never get reviewed, I thought I should find a way to review books in a quick and pain-free way. So - Incredible, Forgettable, Preventable! It's book reviewing but the speed-reviewing version. It's cliff, shag or marry for fiction.

Here we go:

The Smell of Apples by Mark Behr

Verdict: Forgettable

I wouldn't go as far as saying that I wish I'd never read it but I would say that after I finished it, I was all like 'what was even the point of that?' It's well-written, it has compelling female characters, it's set in a beautiful part of Cape Town and it's set during Apartheid without being just about Apartheid. I thought I'd love it. But I didn't.

Perhaps it went over my head. There was something really cerebral about it that I can't reaching for, a meaning, an emotional resolution, but it was just beyond my reach. For some reason, although it is not at all like JMC's Disgrace it did remind me quite a bit of Disgrace. Some pretty disturbing shit happens in The Smell of Apples, as in Disgrace, but at the end of the latter, I felt as though I had travelled a journey with that book. My heart was changed by that book in a way that only time has unchanged. With The Smell of Apples though, I feel like we stepped out of the clearing and walked into a dense forrest together. I thought we were going somewhere, but in the end, we emerged into the sunlight in the same clearing we started in. It didn't take me anywhere.

The Skating Rink by Roberto BolaƱo

Verdict: Forgettable

See above. It is well-written, it has also compelling female characters who are actually more at the heart of the story than the 3 men that narrate it, it's set in a beautiful part of Europe and it's about the ambitions of government employees, the homeless and xenophobia without bogging you down in the banality of those real first world problems. I thought I'd love it - again. But - also again - I didn't.

No comments:

Post a Comment