I’ve been having problems finishing books lately; I’ve picked up several and ended up putting them down again, for various reasons. Some I’m hoping to go back to in a few weeks or months, others probably not. Just for the record, here’s a brief round-up of the ones I’ve been struggling with:
‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova. I fully intend to perservere with this because the story is a great yarn about vampires, mysterious books and ancient maps. I felt the style lets it down, though, and there are some major issues with the timeline and one or two very obvious factual errors. I’ve put it back on the shelf for now.
‘Name Games’ by Michael Craft. Subtitled as ‘A Mark Manning Mystery’, this is a gay detective novel, but not a very good one. Badly let down by a juvenile writing style which includes info dumps, stilted dialogue, one-dimensional characters and two adjectives for almost every noun. I gave up after a few pages.
‘Random Acts of Heroic Love’ by Danny Scheinmann. Beautifully written but the early chapters at least are very gloomy and I found the obsession with death a little heavy-going, and some of the narrative rather dull. I’m hoping to pick up it and have another go in due course.
‘Dying in Style’ by Michael Carson. An Irish gay detective novel; probably very good but there are so many stops and starts, so many letters and book excerpts and bits and bobs, and so little narrative that I got confused. The main character doesn’t seem to even appear until half way through the book!
In the meantime I’ve gone back to an old favourite, the ‘Lymond’ series by Dorothy Dunnett. I have all six books and I’m jolly well going to re-read the lot, in sequence, one after the other. It may take some time!