Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I (Couldn't) Finish Reading: Wind Up Bird Chronicle & The Curfew

Sometimes I run across a book where I want to continue, but the narrative voice is so damn irritating that I can’t.

Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami begins with the main character who is so passive and pliable that it’s hard to care what he does. Moping around his house? Check. Seemingly giving up on life? Check. Accepting demands from others because who really cares? Check.

By the time the plot tries to pick up the pace and get interesting, it’s too late. I don’t care what he does, mainly because I’m not sure he’s going to do anything. At least not until it’s too late or too weird or too many pages have passed by.

I don’t need every page to be action packed, but at least give the characters a little momentum. That would be nice.

The Curfew by Jesse Ball is a different sort of problem. The premise starts off in complete mystery as the society introduced is similar but so different. I wanted to read on. I wanted to learn more. However, the narrative voice (there it is again!) was so stilted and clipped and confusing that I couldn’t get past the first 20 or so pages.

It could be that style is just not for me. I’ll accept the blame here – this book has received quite a few good reviews. But in my defense, I don’t mind a good confusing strange universe (see here), yet at the same time I need the narrative to at least help me along, just a little bit. The beginning of this book simply irritated more than enticed.

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