Is it like eating Thanksgiving dinner? Every bite is wonderful, but no one
wants the same meal forever? I’m satiated? I’m full of excellent writing? Is this writer an old aunt nearing dementia whose ideas are no longer as captivating and others give me conversation and hugs? On page 188 of this 351 page book, I’m quitting.
The book has an interesting storyline set in a dystopian future. There’s family intrigue, world-wide political implications, selfish proclivities of the super wealthy, and rich landscapes, all as promised by the description on the back cover. The characters are drawn deeply enough that I can care about what happens to them. The writing style is excellent, which wasn’t surprising by this well-known international author.
I’m putting this paperback that I’ve wanted to read for several months down without intention of picking it back up again. Under cover of night when my husband was asleep and I wouldn’t be caught, I did skip to the back to read the last chapter, but that was after I decided not to finish reading it. I don’t feel a bit bad which surprised me. It’s my habit to approach a book I’m having second thoughts about as though it’s an old aunt on the verge of dementia. She was always interesting and fun when I was a kid as she offered me hugs, and a change from my mother’s thinking. But through the years we’ve changed. Now I have a lot of other interests and responsibilities, and sometimes she’s lucid and entertaining and sometimes she’s repetitious and boring. But Mother taught me to be polite to old relatives and loyalties, and I’ve continued to be patient to the bitter end of 99.5% of every book I’ve picked up to read.
Though it had everything to offer, the book just didn’t capture me. It was as
promised on the back, “graceful, poetic, and a book of accelerating tension.” So what was my problem? Isn’t that about as much as any fiction book can offer? I’m exhausted by the enormity of what has been prepared and delivered as reading material in books of four dozen genres, ebooks, magazines, blogs and newspapers. I’ve always wanted to keep up with all of it, but now perhaps Thanksgiving is over and I feel the need for a long reader’s nap.
Maybe I’m envious. The book is excellently written, lauded by many, in several languages, and whatever this author publishes is read by millions. I imagine a plush and private writing room with a fine Turkish carpet and a window that overlooks a lush garden with hydrangeas still dripping from a predawn rain. I see a calendar with a dinner date at a nice restaurant with a bald, devoted editor, and waiting at an office is a staff of eager proofreaders that will fix grammar mistakes. Yes, now that I put that picture into existence, if I wasn’t already, I am now envious.
That also feels like an easy admission. When in doubt blame yourself and the world often forgives. I’ve used the ruse before even when it only partly fit. That’s an easy conclusion, but the sub-story is hovering within me in a stew of order and chaos. Where does a fiction book fit with all the other books of four dozen genres, magazines, blogs, and newspapers? Where does the written word fall into place in meaning, value, necessity? Where and how in the universe does this matter?