Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Children, time, whatever

Thank you, Valerie, for giving me an alibi for not loving this, by not loving it yourself. I know I didn't give it the fairest chance, with my method of reading 'n' all, but it was the only chance it was going to get. Once I am able to read properly again, I will be wanting to read things I have a reasonable chance of enjoying. I will not be re-reading things that couldn't persuade me the first time round. There are too many novels out there deserving their first chance! I've read McEwan before, and he's not really my cup of tea. I don't doubt he's good, but I am allowed to maintain (whatever aspersions are cast on my hormones or methods) that he isn't really me. I find that being sleep-deprived doesn't stop me liking things I'd have liked otherwise. It just makes me more focused about whether I'm enjoying it enough to make it worth prioritising. (However I will fess up to having missed the dystopian thing through skimming. I'm in no way saying skimming is A Good Plan. Made a lot more sense of the novel once I knew. Thanks! I thought the oddness was just an alternative view of our world now and I obviously missed out as a result.)

And I don't think you can have your cake and eat it as an author. If you put something in a book as the set piece (which McEwan is a master of, he really is) and it's something really emotive, like a child abduction, you cannot then claim that somehow we're to react to the book and to that incident separately. McEwan went to a lot of trouble to craft that scene and he wanted it there. And I therefore reserve the right to find it deeply upsetting and I am sure McEwan wants it so. It's not as if I'm reacting to something which is only tangentially related to the novel. You could as well claim that the protagonists in "Atonement" are obsessing about the wrong things since the trigger events in it are so brief. But McEwan does seem to like these brief moments which aren't the theme of the book but which have a disproportionate effect on both characters and readers. Like life, really, when so often our defining things are brief "accidents".

So I'd still be really grateful for any thoughts anyone has only my previous post's questions! But even if not, it's very interesting how our views so far have differed and yet overlapped.