I try to follow what I call "Nancy's Rule of 50," Nancy Pearl's theory that life is too short to read a book you don't like, so if you're under the agI try to follow what I call "Nancy's Rule of 50," Nancy Pearl's theory that life is too short to read a book you don't like, so if you're under the age of 50, you read 50 pages of a book before you decide if you don't like it (If you're over the age of 50, you subtract your age from 100, and that's how many pages you read before you decide.). With this book, though, I couldn't even make it that far. I think I was around page 20 when I started to skip large chunks of pages to see if it got any better. But it didn't look like it was going to, so I gave up.
The premise is a good one, sure, but I think it was the style of writing/narration that I didn't like. It was jarring. Yes, they're supposed to be like diary entries (mission log entries or whatever), but it just wasn't doing it for me. I wasn't looking forward to spending 369 pages with this guy.
I've read some reviews that say there's too much in-depth science in the book, but I didn't even make it to the in-depth science (or maybe I'm just way smarter than I thought I was ;) ). There was just something about Mark's narration that irritated me -- too much swearing (I'm one who swears A LOT, but I know I shouldn't because there are WAY more intelligent ways to express myself, so when books or movies seem to use swearing as their go-to thing, it turns me off), too disjointed, or too jarring, as I mentioned above... I don't know. There was just something that made me not want to continue with the book.
I think I might be the only one in the Goodreads universe who feels that way. (I take that back. As of right now, there are roughly 1300 people of the roughly 243,000 reviews who also think it's a one-star book. We're a small group.)...more
I liked this book. Really, I did. I was going to give it 4 stars, but then the last few pages just ... *sigh*
The book is a sort of book-within-a-bookI liked this book. Really, I did. I was going to give it 4 stars, but then the last few pages just ... *sigh*
The book is a sort of book-within-a-book: we find out (not so early on), that (view spoiler)[we're reading a "biographical" story that Adam Walker, our main character, is writing. (hide spoiler)] Each section takes place in a different season: Spring, Summer, Fall. And each section (view spoiler)[ is written from a different point of view. (hide spoiler)] No problemo there. I'm with Auster on this, I'm digging it, I'm digging the ploys he uses, the literary tricks, all that jazz. (view spoiler)[I didn't mind the three seasonal sections to Walker's book, or the shifting narrator. I also didn't mind the total brake-screeching flip to Cecile's point of view. (hide spoiler)]
However, that last section did lose some points with me. I was fine with the shift in narrator, even shifting away from the 1967 book (although that kind of made me... sad? No, not sad. I was just sorry to see us stray from Walker's book, but I saw what Auster was doing with it as plot, (view spoiler)[finishing the Born story with the only person who knew the end of the Born story). (hide spoiler)] But it just felt like it draaaaaged on longer than it needed to. And yet, I don't know what I would cut out. Maybe it was that I felt like we'd invested so much in reading Walker's book for the first 3/4 of the book, that now that we were reading someone else's work (view spoiler)[(Cecile's diary) (hide spoiler)], we spent too much time away from Walker's book. That might be it. Whatever it was, it felt like the (view spoiler)[Cecile/Born (hide spoiler)] story could have been snipped a little, and thus it was sort of a let-down ending to what had been a decent book.
So then, this book brings into question a lot about certainty/ambiguity/What do we know?/What do we not know?/What can we believe?/unreliable narrators (And I wouldn't have made most of these connections without the 21st Century Literature group). It makes for a really baffling read, but baffling in a good way. The kind of baffling read that gives your brain a workout. Plus, it's a crazy-ass, mixed-up story, so you can get sucked into all of the "What?!?!" and "Say wha?!?!" moments.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more