I do have some conflicting feelings about this book. I loved the start of the book, and the story initially had captivated my attention. I was drawn iI do have some conflicting feelings about this book. I loved the start of the book, and the story initially had captivated my attention. I was drawn into right away. I very much enjoyed learning about Fevvers and pondering over the question as to how genuine she really was, or if she was all a fraud.
But then as the story progressed it shifted and become more about Walser and his experiences within the circus, and less about Fevvers. Though I still found it to be enjoyable to read, and I liked meeting the rather interesting and eccentric cast of characters within the circus. I also found parts of the story to be somewhat incomprehensible and not entirely easy to follow just what was taking place. There where parts of the story I did find quite confusing.
Then by the last part of the book the story really derailed for me. In general I have no problem with strange, bizarre, even nonsensical books. I love surrealism and like to be taken to strange places, but the last part of the story became too scattered for me and verged too far off course and my attention began to flag, I found reading it started to become more tedious.
I was also left with the feeling that there was a great deal of symbolism in the story that I was not fully comprehending. I never was entirely sure how much of the book should be taken seriously/at face value, and how much was just a fantastically, whimsical romp.
Some interesting things I have perceived is that it seems a lot of the story does revolve around the idea of women being caged/oppressed in various different ways, sometimes physically/literally, other times more symbolically.
And many of the men within the story seemed to be incompetent or ineffectual and relied upon the guidance and care of women.
There where also some interesting similarities between the Princess and her tigers and the Countess and her female prisoners.
I feel in a way the last laugh at the end of the book was upon use the readers. Perhaps this book was a fraud masquerading as something else, and by that I don't mean anything agasint the author of her talent as a writer, but the fact that perhaps this book is written in a way that makes the reader start to over analyze and try to read more into it than what is actually there. ...more
This is a difficult book to rate or review because I have such conflicting feelings about it. As a lover of 20th century literature I am open to experThis is a difficult book to rate or review because I have such conflicting feelings about it. As a lover of 20th century literature I am open to experimentation, and unconventionality, and enjoy artists who push the boundaries and challenge how we perceive things. But I also cannot help but to think that just because something is experimental does not make it a work of genius.
When experimentation works in harmony with a good strong story it can create a truly masterful work, but one of the problems I had with this book is the way in which I felt that the experimentation at times had a disharmony with the story. Some of the tricks and gimmicks distracted from the story instead of further enhancing it, there were things of which I did feel may have been there just to be there, and did not serve a perhaps beyond being different for the sake of being different, and in a novel I think the story should still be important.
With that being said, I do believe that the author does have talent as a writer. There was some good writing provided within the book. There are two different stories that run parallel to each other, that of the Navidson Project, and his unnatural house, and that of the narrator Johnny. I felt that the story of Navidson was really good and strong and quickly engaged my attention and had me captivated. I could not wait to read what would happen next with the house, and the family, and I cared about those characters.
I loved the journal entries of Tom, and thought his jokes were great. I also felt that in the sections of text in which there would be several pages of only a few lines had an almost poetic quality to them which I enjoyed. I also have to add that I did really enjoy the letters of Johnny's mother.
But overall when it came to the telling of the story of Johnny while it starts out interesting at first, I found that Johnny very quickly grew quite annoying, and the more I was drawn into the Navidson story, I would get irritated when Johnny interrupted to ramble and bellyache about his life some more and I wanted to just get through those sections as quickly as possible to return to Navidson. I felt a disconnect with Johnny and did not really care about him, his life, or what became of him.
I also felt there were points in which the story did feel like it was dragging on, and was perhaps stretched out longer then it needed to be and it kind of felt like it just kept going, and going, when there really was nothing else left to be said.
All in all though it was an interesting read, certainly very different. ...more