04 February 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo ~ George Sanders

** OK **

Too much of a good thing?  
Or not enough of anything??

Innovation in writing can be thrilling, a scintillating experience for the reader.  This was ultimately frustrating.  What I was enjoying at the beginning became tedious at the end.  I longed for the whimsical style of the narrative to give way to something more productive, but no, it continued until the end.

There was a lot of ta-da trumpet blowing that this was Saunders, a master of short stories, first novel.  What we were given was a stream of snippets from short stories, almost like an annotated bibliography, thrown together in a cutesy was to give the narrative.  It would possibly make a great radio play (and may have been a much more enjoyable experience as an audiobook).

There was a lot to like about it.  The storyline is unexpected (the "Lincoln" in the title is Willy Lincoln).  The oddball characters and their oddball behaviours are engaging.  The melange of historical fact is informative and interesting.  But in the long run it became a chore, having to make do with finger food when you were expecting a main meal.

The Tibetan word bardo means literally "intermediate state"

03 February 2017

Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

**OK **

Ye gods!  Yawn!
Informative but not engaging

I know I am meant to swoon with joy because it is by (spoken in reverent terms) ... Neil Gaiman ... but no, no swooning on my part.  I felt very let down by something that I had been eagerly anticipating.  

While it definitely added to my scant knowledge of Norse mythology, it was not an engaging read.  It felt more like a lowly translation by someone not adept at either language.

The short story format was fine but it, combined with the language used, made it seem more of a children's version than a richly detailed, magical presentation of Norse mythology.  It was all too simplistic.  Dialogue in particular was poorly done - was he initially planning a graphic novel?  And if there is an argument that it was a written presentation of oral storytelling, then I would have fallen asleep around the fire.  It was informative but not colourful, it was peopled with characters but had no charisma, it was paraphrasing rather than engaging storytelling.  

02 February 2017

Kindred ~ Olivia E Butler

** OK **

Unoriginal, uninspired

Let's take The Time Traveller's Wife and ummm change it to make it black history instead ... yes! That will work ... not!!!  While the idea was good it needed more effort to lift it from being a "What I did in my holiday" school assignment essay.