Shitty? Yes, and no.

16 August 2009 at 2:35 am (Thoughts)

Image from the wikipedia entry on the book

Image from the wikipedia entry on the book

I’ve been reading like a fiend. Making up for lost time. I hadn’t read any novels in months and months prior to this, and now that I have the time (sort of), I’m grabbing books, left, right and centre.

My brother handed me this book by Stephen Clarke. A Year in the Merde. Something on the cover mentioned something about a Brit’s experience abroad. Not particularly my cup of tea, but the book was there, I was hungry for something to read, so read I did.

Didn’t like it much. Didn’t hate it, but I most definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone (anyone I liked, anyway).

Sure, I have read and enjoyed my share of fluffy confections. I do like being amused with airy nothingness, so long as it doesn’t talk down to me or treats me like I’m an 11-year-old (Angels and Demons comes to mind). This was written in a perfectly acceptable style and it was pretty amusing on the whole, but I finished the book feeling utterly unfulfilled. I just didn’t take to the Paul West character. Self-conscious, yet pompous; idiotic, yet just clever enough to get himself out of trouble.

It would be unfair to say this was a shitty read. It was okay as far as fluffy confections go. But it had no bite. I didn’t loathe the character, or admire him, or even loathed to admire him. I found myself vaguely annoyed by the character and his adventures, but that was it.

I have had pretty good luck with some of the other books I picked up, though, so I shan’t be too peeved about not liking this one. (Then again, I handpicked those at my own expense. One shall not complain too loudly when one didn’t have to pay for the book.)


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