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The Walking Tour

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Two couples -- businessman Bobby Rose and his artist wife, Carole Ridingham; his partner, Coleman Snow, and Snow's wife, Ruth Farr -- have gone on a walking tour in Wales, during which a fatal accident occurs. The question of what happened preoccupies not only an ensuing negligence trial but also the narrator, Bobby and Carole's daughter, Susan, who lives alone in her pare ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 8th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1999)
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so i finished this book today and rather than start the new book i brought for the subway ride home, i just started this thing all over again.

it's really good.

that's why it astounds me that there are so many one- and two-star reviews on here. this is good stuff, guys! i was talking to tom fuller about it today, telling him how many people called this book "confusing" or "boring" or saying that they just didn't get it. and tom fuller, bless him, said "what the fuck's there not to get??"

Matt Hlinak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: John Leonard, Harper's (Feb. 2006)
Shelves: fiction, to-be-burned

Wretched, pretentious, nattering prose. The story is narrated by the adult daughter of a couple who, years earlier, took a walking tour in Wales with another married couple, friends and business partners, but there was rivalry and unhappiness involved. On the walking tour a "fatal accident" occurs. We're not told right away who died or how. The reader tries to piece together what happened from the court transcripts of the wrongful death suit, the mother's dingbatty letters to her daughter, the m
I finally finished. Technically, it has taken me 4 years to read it. I purchased this book for a college literature class, and it was the only book we did not get to. Based on how much I liked my professor's other choices, I thought i would really like this book too. Over the last few years I intermitterntly started reading it, but it was difficult to get into, and I would get bored and pick up something else. I finally forced myself to finish it. I did not like it.

Maybe I was missing the dialog
Maybe five stars? I loved The Thin Place as well. She seems to only tell stories in completely extraordinary ways. I can't wait to get to the rest of her books. This is about 2 couples on a walking tour, a bunch of shit that may or may not have happened, and an unreliable narrator years later piecing it all together, who may be losing her mind in this weird scary fucked up future. There's also some Welsh myth stuff. One thing bothered me - there was this Asian character who seemed to be written ...more
I'm not quite finished with this book (maybe 30 pages left) and I'm trying to decide whether or not I care enough to finish it. The author gives you an inkling of what happens, but doesn't actually give you the full information until almost 200 pages in. At that point I was just reading to satisfy my own need to know I was right and experiencing a growing sense of aggravation with the storyteller. Also, there are two parallel stories, one of which has the mystery. In the other, I feel like there ...more
Cliffside Park Public Library (NJ)
Interesting story, though told in a way I didn't expect, and in a way that kind of ruined it for me. It wasn't until the end that I even had a better idea of what was going on. The "fantastical" parts really didn't work in this story. They confused everything, annoyed me and didn't add anything to the story as far as I'm concerned. I really wanted to like this, I liked the idea of it but in the end it was a big disappointment.
If I was going only on personal taste and you could do half stars I'd give it a 3.5. Beautifully written, puzzling, messy, intriguing, insightful, disorienting, unfinished, uncommitted, frustrating -- a little convoluted for my taste. The woman can write. Not a book for everyone, not always an easy read, but beautifully written. Personally I wish it had stayed with the walking tour.
I begin with the modest aim of writing a nice review of Davis's very nice book, but I find my intentions and memories of the book--and particularly my belief that I've understood Davis's aims--riddled with uncertainties. Which is, I think, how Davis would have it--so I'll leave it at that. A pleasure, and a puzzle.
sometimes her writing leaves me a bit confused, but in a good, sort of beautiful way
I had to force myself to get through it. I figured the critics couldn't be that wrong, so I persevered. I finished it and I still didn't like it or enjoy it. Neither did I like the characters. It was boring and I couldn't make myself care about the characters very much. They didn't seem at all real to me.
picked this up cause it was to be about a walking tour in Wales. this had to be the worst book I have ever read, except for the sparse references to the Welsh walk. read the entire book and it was awful, even the ending left you hanging, don't know why they wasted paper and ink in printing it
Elemental, haunting, lyrical, perplexing, melancholic and superbly written, with characters so engagingly flawed and fascinating who kept me glued to the book to confirm if my observations and assessments of their natures and motives were founded. Beautiful insights into the human heart, with gorgeous and nonjudgmental writing to describe what's hidden there, as well as the behavior that originates from there. A few frustrations that would probably resolve with a second reading, but I don't thin ...more
alyssa carver
i loved this book even when i started to question it because i believed there was an "aha" coming, but it never came. now i am at the end and can't figure out if i'm not as keen as i thought and missed something, or if my preconceived expectations led me astray. davis is always alluding to references that go right over my head, though, so maybe the clue i needed was in the tale of Manawydan. anybody know this welsh hero guy? i'd love to get the scoop.
When I finished the book I was maybe less clear on what it was about than when I was halfway through--and yet, I continued to be completely intrigued by the characters and settings and how much was real and how much wasn't. Clearly not everyone's cup of tea (most people in my book group were put off by the unclear ending, and, I think, felt it was overly experimental, more of a writing exercise).
Gretchen Schaefer
The writing style was at time intriguing and at times off putting. I couldn't wait to finish the book this afternoon, i had been enjoying the story and was looking forward to it coming together. But I was left with a "huh" feeling that other reviews have mentioned and feeling like i missed something major. Enjoyed it enough to try another book by the same author...
When reading Kathryn Davis's novels--this is the second I've encountered--I always feel a bit dazed. The writing is gorgeous and I sometimes sense a little bit of Virginia Woolf, but as much as I wanted to love this book, I see that's taken me two weeks to finish a relatively short novel...and that should tell me something.
I enjoyed The Thin Place more, but this had a much more experimental storytelling aspect; the whole thing kind of comes across as a painting viewed with smudgy glasses. You never get an entirely clear picture, which is totally frustrating sometimes, but I think that was more or less the point.
This book is surprising. It combines two seemingly disparate genres in an interesting way. It's one of those books where you have to let go of needing final clarity on exactly what happened. Everything is open to interpretation.
Sort of pretentious writing style, but interesting enough the keep reading...right up to the disappointing ending. Leaves you with a "huh?" feeling. Or maybe I just wasn't interested enough by the end to get it?
Amanda Moore
Bizarre and unsettling, this is a book I liked the first time but loved the second. The post-apocolyptic world she creates is intriguing and hard to reconcile, which is why I feel haunted by it.
Airielle Hansford
I tried and I tried, but I just could not do it. I really did not like this book. I have read about 3/4 of the book, but decided not to finish it. I'm moving on to something else.
Darrin Doyle
I'm a huge fan of Kathryn Davis, and this doesn't quite measure up to Hell or Versailles, in my opinion, but if you like beautiful writing, this should satisfy you.
The first third of this book was a struggle, but it did improve - only to deteriorate at the end. It is either a mystery or a fantasy - not sure which.
While Davis is a smart and interesting writer, I never learned to love this book. Who knows, one day down the road I may give it another try.
Not as good as the thin place. the plot is all over the place but her language is amazing.
Interesting book but didn't love it and wouldn't recommend it.
Denise DeRocher
About a murder while walking through Ireland (I think!).
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. Book club selection
This book was seriously confusing. I had no idea it was even taking place in a post-apocalyptic universe until I read a review somewhere. No more Kathryn Davis for me.
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Kathryn Davis is an award-winning American novelist.

Davis has taught at Skidmore College, and is now senior fiction writer in the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

She is a recipient of the Kafka Prize, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction
More about Kathryn Davis...
The Thin Place Duplex Versailles Hell The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf

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