donderdag 25 augustus 2016

The Misremembered Man

The Misremembered Man
I'm about halfway through the book, and I don't know if I'll finish it. The story is mildly interesting, and the characters, though they're unoriginal and their dialogue is almost offensively cartoony (another reviewer called it "leprechauny" and I think that's perfect) are just appealing enough that I kind of care what happens to them.

The writing, though, is more excruciating the longer I read. Every single sentence is overwritten. Almost never does anyone "sit," or "eat," or "look," or "walk," or "go." Instead everyone has to elaborately, fancifully, evocatively, expansively, with many adjectives and adverbs and commas, go about their most mundane actions within a rich tapestry of verbiage, drenching the reader in a reverie of depth and meaning.

LIKE THAT. THE WHOLE BOOK IS LIKE THAT.

All the characters, all their actions, everywhere they are and everything around them. All in twice as many words as necessary, except when McKenna uses three times as many words, or more.

They're farmers and pub keepers and small town old schoolmarms. Simplicity is their milieu.
You are not writing in the 19th century, and even if you were, you are not Henry James.
Trust your story and don't hide it behind overwrought wordiness. Pare it down.

Spoiler Alert: I got this book because I like books set in Ireland, and the synopsis sounded interesting. I was not expecting to be so profoundly touched by the plot. It will stay with me for a long time. I know it sounds trite, but this book was one of very few I have ever read that had me laughing out loud at Jamie's neighbor Rose or various antics going on in the character's lives, and then sobbing with emotion when it described Jamie's sweet adoption story and his later deep sadness, knowing what he had endured as a child. I have to disagree with reviewers who said the ending was bad or not positive. I thought it was the very best possible ending, and was extremely happy to see it turn out the way it did. After all, Jamie wasn't necessarily wanting a wife; he was wanting love, connection, and an end to his lonely, hopeless existence. Lydia and her truth was just what he needed. Plus, it hinted at another possible love interest for him in the future, leaving his story open-ended and full of hope.Extremely touching and well-written, I would recommend this book highly.

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