Monday, November 10, 2008

The Recovering Novel

Just finished Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson, and it took me a while, but I have to say I did truly enjoy the book once it got going. I stopped early on because it looked like the conceit was keeping me at arm’s length, and that I was going to be subjected to a parade of tragic circumstances that I would be forced to observe from a frustrating, cool perspective. But as soon as the unifying character, Jackson, appeared, the narrative began to gel. And in the end, lots of relief all around, and even if that relief wasn’t really believable, so freaking what. I think one review called the book a “noble failure,” which suggests a kind of march towards defeat, but I think the failure, if any, is at the front end with its stagy premise, and that the thing pulls itself together more than nicely for a satisfying finish.Which is most important to me, as books rarely end right.

2 comments:

artandliterature said...

I've been meaning to read Case Histories for a while now. Was just talking about it over the weekend with Tara, coincidentally enough. I'll give it a try soon! (Guess this was the reverse of your experience with Tana French, since you didn't like either one of her endings. :-)

Laura Ellen Scott said...

You are exactly right. the reverse experience. I gotta stop reading about Brit detectives. It's getting too cold for it.