Monday, January 28, 2013

The Sense of an Ending

I had no expectations about The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes when I picked it up, except that it had won the Man Booker prize for 2011 (so it must have been good). I won't give anything away ...

The writing certainly lived up to the expectation - from a literary and prose perspective, the writing was lovely. But I think that the topic would isolate a lot of readers - it certainly wasn't something I related to, or was interested in. I probably only finished the book because I was camping, and didn't have anything else to do! Perhaps it was written for an audience that didn't include my sex or age-group (what does that say about the judges of the Man Booker prize?).
   The Sense of an Ending is also a book that critics have said should be read twice. I can understand that a different light would be reflected on all the insinuations in the novel, if you already knew the ending. But I really don't feel compelled to read it again.
   The ending was not a revelation - it was such a simple little story, so focused down onto a subjective level of the narrator and main character, that the ending didn't really affect me as the reader. I can see that it would have caused a bit of a heart flip for the main character, but certainly wouldn't have been something to obsess about, considering the event in question happened over 40 years prior.
   The hostility and obstructiveness of Veronica still isn't explained, even after the ending is revealed. Nor is the financial legacy that is left to the main character. The ending doesn't seem to justify these points. Maybe Veronica is just a nasty, bitter person - in which case, why would she even engage with the main character at all? Maybe because he's so annoying - his self-obsessing certainly annoyed me.
   Maybe I'll reread it in a couple of years. Right now, I don't have the patience for the characters - I need a break from them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aussie Author Challenge 2012

I participated in the Aussie Author Challenge 2012.

   Some of the books may have also been classics, or written by women for the Australian Women Writers Challenge that I also participated in, but here are the titles and reviews (a very mixed bag, so it achieved my goal of reading broadly):

This certainly qualifies me as Dinky-Di!!!

Secret Keeper

I read the Secret Keeper, Kate Morton's new book, over the Christmas and New Year period.
   I got the book as an uncorrected proof, but because I took so long reading Richard Mahony, I didn't get to Secret Keeper until it hit the selves for Christmas.

   I liked the twist at the end, but I didn't really enjoy the whole novel. It took me a long time to get into, the structure of the story didn't suit me. It was such a heavy book to have to get to that ending. The intrigue didn't grab me, and I didn't really care about the characters.
   It's the second Kate Morton book I've read, having read The Shifting Fog last year. The writing is very easy to read - it's modern style and easy language. However, The Shifting Fog kept me moving. Secret Keeper didn't.
   I think the problem may have been that I didn't like the character that we were following in snippets during the World War II period of the novel.
   The daughters were a bit under-developed and stiff, or two-dimensional.
   For such a great Australian author, I don't want to be negative. This book will be enjoyed by thousands of women (and men). It just wasn't for me, unfortunately.