Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Book Group, episode 2
Weight of Water by Anita Shreve. Not really something I'd normally choose to read, but my first choice for Book Group got turned down by the overlords, as they have their own designs on that title, so I had to choose quickly. I didn't really enjoy it. Most of the characters were unlikeable, which, ok, whatever, you can't like everyone. The time shifts were jarring and came without warning. I can make an argument saying real life is never as structured as a novel; suddenly displacing a reader better mimics how certain things in life trigger memories and thoughts regardless of what is really going on around you. But what really bugged me about the novel? It was cold. Not just because the setting was stark, although that didn't help. But our narrator was of the "Just the facts, ma'am" philosophy, and the book tended to read like dry non-fiction. I wasn't emotionally invested. At all.
The book group (3 new people this time! yay!), pointed out something I hadn't realized. Our primary narrator, Jean, never talks much about herself; her past; her emotions. I was so irritated with the obvious distance she created between herself and the story that it didn't even occur to me that we really knew next to nothing about her. While I know that Shreve has a very loyal following, I'll only give this book to those who enjoy a good depressing read. Myself? I don't think I need to read anymore Shreve.
Jean, a photojournalist, is sent to cover a scandalous double ax-murder that happened in 1873 on a remote rock off the coast of Maine. She brings along her family and as she delves deeper into the murder she begins to see parallels between the past and the present, with equally disastrous consequences.
The ladies, while not overcome with love for the title, did seem to be glad to have read it. And they said they'd come back for the next one, so, really, I can't ask for more, can I? =D