Friday, 22 October 2010

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America (2010)

One thing my secondary school English teacher, Mr Meteyard, hammered into all of us was: do not describe a book as boring. To call Othello 'boring', and especially to call it 'bo-o-o-oring', says nothing about Shakespeare's play and everything about you. I've stuck dutifully to that cornerstone of critical analysis in the many decades since, and it has served me well. But I'm about to violate it.

Carey's new novel is boring. To be clear: it's not boring in a 'too little going on' way; it's boring in a 'too much going on' way. I was bored.

Better than Finkler, even so? Yes.


Farah Mendlesohn said...

Good lord! We agree on a book!

I so wanted to like it. I loved the idea, the title tempted, the blurb tickled. I know a ton about the period having taught it for years.

And I couldn't get past the first chapter.

Adam Roberts said...

I've long suspected our tastes in fiction aren't so different. I remember very well one of the first every conversations you and I had, in which we debating the relative merits of Russ and Le Guin, you arguing eloquently for the former, me doggedly for the latter. Looking back, I'd say we were much more in agreement than in disagreement, on that occasion.

Perhaps you'd disagree, of course.

Adam Roberts said...

" which we were debating the relative merits ..."

Tch. My typing is shocking bad.

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