The winner of the Man Booker International prize, announced today! I read it a few months ago, and loved it—never did post my YouTube review here, so here you go: https://youtu.be/-T8791KxQNM
Well I gave it a try. The writing was so good, but the story was way, way, WAY too magically realist and fantastical and mythological for me. Blech. Bailed just under a fifth of the way in.
Damn, the opening chapters were so incredibly riveting but the author and his editor really fell asleep farther in. I have just read a chapter and a half of some of the crappiest prose ever, with eyerollingly god-awful sex scenes to boot. I‘m done. Bailed 70% of the way in.
This opening paragraph of this new Irish debut novel so utterly beguiled me that I immediately bought the e-book. Two chapters in, I‘m feeling just as enthusiastic!
I read just over half of the stories and while they were extremely well written and rather comical in places, I simply couldn‘t bring myself to finish. Not enough human-character to-human-character dynamics; far too much about hunting and horse-racing and buying horses. Oh my God!
Full video review: https://youtu.be/8_OZt9x-BfE
After her masterpiece, The Lost Garden, this new Helen Humphreys novel was a huge disappointment. The first half is a meta-essay about the impossibility of fictionalizing in an interesting way the life of a woman who did nothing—nothing at all—except make salmon flies; in the second half, the ‘novel,‘ Humphreys goes on, alas, to amply prove the point. One of the most boring books I‘ve ever read.
I was never convinced that the first person voice was that of an 84-year-old Irish farmer. More than that, the writing was just too sentimental for me. I wasn‘t invested enough to feel anything in response to the first tragedy in the story, at page 60, and bailed a page or two after that.
I‘m not sure how to divvy up the blame between the author and the audio narrator, but this was just mind numbingly boring despite its biographical subject herself being so important and so darn interesting! I woke up at the 33% mark long enough to bail.
There was quite a bit that I liked about the 40% of this that I managed to get through, but what did me in was the tough, unrelenting slog of the vernacular prose, unrelieved by even a smidgeon of easy-to-read quote-unquote ‘standard English‘ exposition or 3rd-person narration. So, in the end, just no.