So, 2013 did not start auspiciously book-wise.
Fair Play by Tove Jansson – 4/10
Iris raves about Jansson (as do many others). I just didn’t get it! This was a novel of episodes – not really short stories, because it was always the same characters, but very short episodes over the lives of two women. To call the prose spare or sparse does it, in my opinion, a credit – it was not only laconic, it was barely there at all! Jansson clearly has a talent for capturing a character with few words – tiny actions and reactions, rather than long descriptions. My issue was mostly a lack of plot, or progression – time progressed, but nothing really changed between the characters.
Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon? by Simon Okotie – 2/10 (DNF)
Marguerite (a man) is hot on the trail of Harold Absalon, disappeared transport adviser. Except he’s not really hot on the trail, but he has managed to track down Absalon’s wife and follow her for a bit. In the space of 100 pages he follows her into a hotel, gets kicked out of said hotel, waits across the street from the hotel, follows her up the road a bit and gets onto a bus. Okotie takes digression to another level, through comic to frustrating. And the pace of physical movement vs. mental loquacity only decreases as the book moves on – the man talks to himself in his head FAR TOO MUCH.
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler – 5/10 (DNF)
Mini-Me and The Book Accumulator recommended the film of this and I borrowed the book from Mini-Me – and really didn’t know what to make of it. On the one hand, there are 5 women and a man of unknown provenance sitting around monthly in California discussing their beloved Miss Austen. On the other hand, we delve into the back stories of the characters and they are très dark. Daaaaaark dark. Sexual assault, emotional betrayal, divorce – these ladies really can’t catch a break. Totally at odds with their fluffy discussion. Maybe that’s the point – but it was too disconnected for me.
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