Friday, October 09, 2009

2009 book 212

A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book
It's taken me all week to read this, partially b/c it's almost 700 pages long, partially b/c it's so insufferably boring. (I'm not sure why I kept reading, except I remembered liking Byatt's books and thinking it would get interesting.) Here are just a few of my problems with this book:

--There are 4 core families of characters, all with multiple children and hangers-on to keep track of, which Byatt doesn't handle well.
--For a book where so many people talk about and have illicit sex, it's completely unsexy.
--Even when a Deep Dark Family Secret is revealed, it's somehow boring.
--WAAAAY too many interludes on early 1900s art, theatre, and politics that have nothing to do with the story and feel like chapters from a history book.

It's also interesting to me that one of the central characters is a woman who writes children's books (and there is so much pontificating on children's literature), after she wrote that big essay where she's all jealous of JK Rowling's success.

Anyway, this book was dreadful and I can't believe it was nominated for a Booker. Honestly, I'm sure the British have better books if they want to learn about this time period, and I hope they're not reading it for the vague and inconsistent characters. D.

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