[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I'd been getting increasingly dissatisfied with Beyond Black for some time when I reached a point where I simply didn't want to continue.

Disenchantment set in firstly when Colette was given a huge info-dump that included the software packages she'd learnt to use. Yes, I'm sure it's useful for the author to know that Colette's a whizz at mail-merge, but do I need to know it? I do not. Maybe if it had been used to illustrate some aspect of her character it would have been informative, but Mantel had already established that Colette is efficient and organised, so it didn't. It felt instead as if Mantel had copied and pasted an early character sketch right into the novel.

Worse, the novel then goes into extended backstory. True, there wasn't much plot to abandon, but by that point any attempt at plot clearly had been thrown out of the window with a grand gesture of indifference. On and on with backstory or flashback or whatever you want to call it, stuff that happened long before the point at which the book opened. Stuff that is not going to propel any plot ever.

In short, the book doesn't have much plot, and what plot it has, it has no interest in. Gah. And yawn. And WTF?

But the book signed its death warrant when it reached the death of Diana Spencer. No, I'm sorry, I had to live through the ghastly outpourings of self-indulgence when the woman died and was beatified merely because she was too stupid to wear her seatbelt. I have no intention of reliving it through any medium, not even Alison.

So the book languishes. It's unlikely I'll pick it up again.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I'm on page 196 of 572 of the Emshwiller book. Clearly I'm in this for the long haul. But as I don't fancy an uninterrupted diet of any author of such long duration, I'm moonlighting with Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. Mantel's a very descriptive writer, but the description doesn't feel unnecessary or forced. So far, I'm enjoying the book. Although it could do with moving the plot along a bit. Or at all. So far it's all set up.

Yes, I know. No pleasing me.

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