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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on January 2, 2000
So what am I missing? This book gets good reviews from doughty literary critics, and was even short-listed for the Booker. Yet I found the book deeply frustrating. The English is stylised "simple" prose - for which read simplistic, with the author seemingly having to drop in a couple of chapters of otherwise out-of context clever descriptive prose to remind readers that he can write prettily after all. The writing treats the reader like a dolt - if I see the phrase "Scully had a big heart" once more I will scream - thanks Tim, we got the point after only the fifth repetitiom.
We are treated to a mystery of a man and his implausibly stoic and resourceful daughter in pursuit of his mising wife. Yet the plot artifces to keep this tale going would shame a soap opera - a woman meets the main character and remembers bumping into his wife from a photo of her, even though they had never met each other. The Greek police never bother to pursue a murder suspect, and he happens to go to an American Express office just in time to pick up a telegram to make a mysterious meeting. Scully of course has an encounter with some Irish ghosts, which his daughter naturally sees, and this "waiting for destiny" scene is supposed to have such symbolism that it recurs at the end and stands for the main character's search for happiness. Please. The characters are fairly well-drawn, and the story moves along at a reasonable pace, but for me the problems greatly outweigh the virtues.
Sorry, but I have a degree, I am not unduly dense, and to me this book is not a modern masterpiece but just over-rated hokum. Avoid.
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on September 15, 1998
This is the story of a good but simple man whose wife is supposed to join him with their 7 year old daughter in the new home which he has rebuilt in Ireland. When the dazed daughter shows up without his wife, he starts a frantic, disorganized and eventually drunken search for her all over Europe. We watch the rapid descent of the hero into a state in which his 7 year old provides the only direction and stability of his life. He is only barely believable as a character and his daughter is even less credible. The writing is rich and often elegant but contains too much material that I would have considered daring as a teenage in the 60's but now seems trite. The story does not really develop, it just ends. Perhaps some would consider this book avant-garde but I just thought it bad.
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on August 31, 1999
Please don't waste your time with this book. Although I enjoyed the reading of it, it left me as angry as I have ever been. How some readers could garnish some insite into the madness produced by a wandering(?) wife is beyond my comprehension. The circumstances of the plot are totally preposterous. My only wish is that I could have given this book a "no star" rating.
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