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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Extra Large Mediocre

Have only just finished ELM, having been reading it on and off for the past two months or so. I found it a pleasant enough read, with an original concept which essentially kept the book going (loved the idea of heaven's waiting room and angels who ram the door on unwelcome visitors!). I warmed to the character of Annie and liked her complexity - unsettled childhood, weird 'disability', deserted lover and the succession of horrendous places she lived in.

However, I found the ending very odd. I got very confused with the number of characters that kept being introduced and who was dead and who was alive. By the last quarter of the book I was having to re-read chapters and check back to see who the person was and when they'd been introduced and their conection to Annie. This was most frustrating and made for a very disjointed read. Having said that I was reading the book in fits and starts so, in fairness, it may have been a more cohesive read at one sitting. I also thought Annie was too complex a character to have been 'tied up' so neatly by meeting Arthur and winning a million pounds.

I think the disjointed feel also came about through the third person's 'eye view'. I felt this only began to work once we got to relocating Evan Bees and reading his story in tandem. Thus the beginning 'eve views' were really surplus to requirement (e.g. did we need to see Brain the Giant's view on the death of Annie's mother?)

Overall I thought this was a good concept novel, nicely written in places but not amounting to a great deal by the end.

Emily, glad you and Val enjoyed the AK DVD. I was nervous at handing over a film with a scantily clad woman on the front but glad you were not put off by this to give the film a try. Even I felt that Russian adultery, when distilled to its essence by turning it into a film, could be palatable!

I'm afraid I can't join you for the last few books as I've got very behind and a friend has asked me to read Labyrinth by Kate Mosse with her. I'm not keen to read this but am desperate to encourage any face-to-face discussion on books so can't let this opportunity pass me by. Will report back if it proves to be of any worth.