Saturday, 2 October 2010

Mercifully short

What can I tell you about 49 In a strange room?

I had to read it, because it was number 4 on the shortlist, and I admit I posted a week or two back complaining about some of the books being short, with this one in mind (it's about 150 pages). Now, though, it really does feel like a mercy, because I only had to wade through a short amount of sub-creative-writing-class codswallop.

I mean, who above the age of 14 thinks it's stylistically clever to describe your main character as "he" for part of a paragraph and "I" for the rest? I guess it was done to show something very deep about detachment from your own actions and the ability to observe self from the outside - but done with this heavy-handedness it looks much more like the editor was off sick that day so they just bound up the first draft of the manuscript into a book.

Really, I can't think of a redeeming feature, except that it was short.
(Puts me in mind in a different way of an old joke used by Woody Allen in Annie Hall (and I mention Woody Allen with purpose, gearing up for my next post which will also be a rant); "the food's terrible, and such small portions". Here, I'm profoundly grateful for the small portion).

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